NexAir Updates Piper's Saratoga

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NexAir Avionics, based in Mansfield, Mass., this week introduced the Saratoga NX, a spinner-to-tail modernization of Piper's single-engine six-seater. The NX features an Avidyne Integra Release 9 integrated flight deck and a zero-time factory remanufactured engine. The interior has been spiffed up with added soundproofing, leather seating, a center-console drink cooler, a DVD entertainment system for the back seats, and a fold-down work table. Other new features include AmSafe airbag seatbelts and improved ergonomics.

The result is an airplane that is "better-than-new," says NexAir President David Fetherston, at a fly-away price of less than $400,000. Owners of Saratogas from model years 1980 to 2004 can transform their airplanes into an NX for less than $250,000, he said. New features from LoPresti include a cowling that improves engine cooling, flap gap seals that add knots to cruise speed, and exterior lighting. And it's all wrapped up in a sleek new paint scheme. The program "essentially creates a new aircraft that's better equipped and costs far less than a new or late model version," Fetherston said. Depreciation and insurance costs also are less than for a new airplane. Owners interested in the upgrade can keep their current engines if they're low-time and in good condition, NexAir said. The Saratoga NX will be on display at EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh next week, in Booth No. 354. Piper is no longer building the Saratoga.