2008-08-04 - PiperJet fliesPiperJet flies
Erster Reisejet von Piper fliegt<br /> Piper Aircraft announced that its revolutionary PiperJet the first pure, jet-powered, turbofan design in the company's 71-year history made its first flight at 11:11 AM on 30 July from Piper Headquarters in Vero Beach, Fla.
"Today marks the beginning of a new era for Piper Aircraft as the company literally takes flight into a whole new realm of performance, luxury and capability," said Piper President & CEO James K. Bass. "With this major milestone in the PiperJet's development, we are witnessing our future one that is built on a strong and lasting heritage and reputation for innovation and excellence."
The PiperJet flew for one hour, reaching a maximum altitude of 10,000 feet and a speed of 160 KTAS as per the flight test plan. Piper Test Pilots Dave Schwartz and Buddy Sessoms were at the controls. The PiperJet incorporates many new design features, and the first flight was focused on taking an early look at basic handling characteristics, the effects on pitch trim with power changes, and basic operation of the engine's FADEC control system.
The PiperJet is powered by a single Williams FJ44-3AP engine rated at 3,000 pounds of thrust. In the PiperJet application, the engine is de-rated to approximately 2,400 pounds of thrust. Another confirmation from the first flight was the lack of cabin noise inside the PiperJet one of the many positive attributes resulting from designing the engine installation well aft in the vertical tail, behind the pressure bulkhead. "The resulting lack of cabin noise was even better than expected," said Test Pilot Sessoms. "Even without sound insulation or an interior, the cabin was exceptionally quiet. It will be even quieter in the completed airplane. In all, our customers should be very pleased with the quiet cabin and lack of engine vibration."
With completion of first flight, the PiperJet has begun a 50 hour initial flight test program to expand the envelope and further investigate the aerodynamic configuration and basic flight performance. Piper test pilots expect to retract the landing gear on the PiperJet's next flight, after which they will make several more flights to expand the high-speed envelope, eventually reaching 360 KTAS. Envelope expansion will also include higher operating altitudes, up to a maximum of 35,000 feet.