Another Day, Another Storm

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Piper Cleans Up ... Again ...

If they handed out awards for sheer resilience in the face of adversity, The New Piper Aircraft Inc. would have to be considered a leading candidate. After weathering all sorts of business challenges (some not of its own making, i.e., the Lycoming crankshaft debacle) the company now finds itself in a pitched battle with Mother Nature. Sixteen days after Hurricane Frances damaged production facilities and effectively shut the company down, Hurricane Jeanne scored a direct hit on the Vero Beach company last weekend, likely postponing the planned resumption of production by another two weeks. "We're continuing to deliver airplanes and ship parts," said spokesman Mark Miller. The company had just recalled about half of its 1,000 workers on Friday to get ready to start building airplanes again when Jeanne slammed in. "Jeanne hit pretty much where Frances hit," Miller said. He said it's the first time he's aware of that any aircraft company has been hit by two hurricanes in the same year and said support from suppliers, customers, dealers and governments has been terrific.