New Piper Back To Full Production
New Piper was hit hard by the hurricanes that stormed through Vero Beach, Fla., last fall (not to mention hand-me-down crankshaft complications compliments of Lycoming ... or Interstate ... depending on whom you talk to) but the company is back to full production and all of its laid-off workers have been recalled, spokesman Mark Miller told AVweb yesterday. "We're on track to deliver more airplanes this year than we did in either 2004 or 2003," he said. The sprawling 80-acre site sustained heavy damage to several buildings, but the main tooling and assembly equipment was spared and moved into intact space. The company lost some staffers due to attrition during its recovery, so it now is hiring and hopes to gradually build back up to a full workforce of about 1,000, Miller said. So far the staff is up to about 830. Construction crews are still hard to find in Florida, Miller said, so rebuilding is proceeding slowly. Some roofing crews are working now, and insurance money is coming in to fund the work. Miller said the company is also taking advantage of the opportunity to make improvements as it rebuilds, both in structures and in manufacturing systems.