...No Airplanes, Parts Lost
The two-week postponement on the resumption of production has more to do with cleaning up than it does with any actual damage to the facilities. Miller said that in the aftermath of Frances, production facilities were being moved out of damaged buildings and into those that had survived the first hurricane. Turns out they stood up to Jeanne just as well and not a single airplane or component was damaged. "We're clearing up lots of debris, though," said Miller. At least the recent hurricanes do not appear to have had the kind of impact the company's predecessor suffered in 1972, when floodwaters invaded Piper's Lock Haven, Penn., plant. Miller said there are now about 150 Piper employees back on the job cleaning up the mess and getting ready for production. "We continue to recover and rebuild as quickly as we can," he said. And they'll have help: The Cherokee Pilots Association has started a grass-roots effort to assist Piper employees. The group told AVweb this week that it had collected more than $2,500 in less than 72 hours. The association's plan is to cap its efforts with a benefit fly-in BBQ at the Vero Beach plant on Nov. 14, 2004, when it plans to present the funds to New Piper President Chuck Suma for distribution to the employees.