Piper Picks Williams Power

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The PiperJet will be packing plenty of punch when it flies off the drawing board. Piper President Jim Bass announced yesterday at AOPA Expo that a Williams FJ44-3AP will be in the tail-mounted nacelle of the jet. The engine is normally rated at 3,000 pounds of thrust, but this one will be derated to 2,400 pounds, giving it 1,000 pounds more than the belly-mounted FJ33 on the Diamond D-Jet, and 500 more than the-jet proposed by Cirrus, which will also have an FJ33. Bass told AVweb he wanted a big engine in the plane to ensure it had the kind of performance he desired. But he also said the derated engine gives them the flexibility to make larger versions of the aircraft as demand warrants. Bass said Williams was the clear choice even though Piper has a business arrangement with Honda, which has developed a new jet engine in cooperation with GE.

Bass said he wanted proven reliability powering the PiperJet and noted that FJ44 engines have logged more than 2.5 million hours in larger bizjets like the Cessna CJ family, Raytheon Premier I and Sino Swearingen SJ30. He stressed that the arrangement with Honda, in which Piper will supply sales and service support for the HondaJet, in no way implies or exerts exclusivity on Piper or restricts its place in the market. Bass said the company has "scores" of orders for the PiperJet and to bolster the backlog the company announced an incentive program that will give those who buy a Saratoga, Seneca or Malibu up to $100,000 off the price of a jet when its ready for the market in two to three years.