Piper To Unveil Jet

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As we reported from EAA AirVenture in July, Piper will unveil its entry in the VLJ market at the NBAA convention a week and a half away, too. CEO Jim Bass recently told last month's annual convention of Meridian owners that the jet will be a step up for them. Since the Meridian is a $2 million, six-place airplane, it seems likely the jet will be larger, fly higher and faster (otherwise, why bother?) so it will not be aimed at the same market as Diamond's D-Jet (mockup only will be at NBAA) or the Cirrus. However, Piper, which will be doing sales and service for the $4 million HondaJet, isn't likely to compete directly in that market, either, which is on the high end of the VLJ market.

Speculation on the Piper jet is that it will be a big single, but what single? The Honda/GE collaboration seems like a good bet, especially if it delivers the kind of efficiency the engine maker, which is a separate entity from the Honda airframe manufacturer, is promising. The 30-percent gains being bandied about would give Piper performance and consumption numbers like the D-Jet but with six or more people on board and 10,000 feet higher. Whether that would justify its higher price remains to be seen.