New Piper Products On The Way?
Bass told the news conference that Piper is revamping its product line. For the past couple of years, the sole topic of news conferences has been the announcement that one or two Piper models was being outfitted with Avidyne Entegra glass cockpits. True to form, Tuesday's press conference started with the announcement that the Seminole, the last(?) of the steam gauge Pipers, was getting glass. But Bass also detailed Piper's aggressive winter recruiting campaign (depicting palm trees on the beach) aimed at attracting engineers and designers from Detroit and Wichita. It seems the next generation of Piper aircraft, needs another thirty design engineers, another 10 manufacturing engineers and some fifty production workers. As for plans for a Piper jet, Bass was matter-of-fact that Piper was developing its strategy for the jet project and wouldn't give any details until he had details to give. In response to the question of how many engines it would have (one like the Cirrus and Diamond "personal jets" or two like the Eclipse and Cessna Mustang) Bass declined comment entirely ... so long as you don't count laughter. "It's taking all the energy I have not to answer your question," he said. It's rumored that Piper has had a plywood mockup of a proposed jet for several years.