The proof-of-concept PiperJet has started low-speed taxi tests and the jet is performing as expected, the company said this week. "Piper test pilots reported light rudder pedal forces and excellent response as the PiperJet POC was maneuvered with confidence in the tight confines of the Vero Beach factory test ramp for the first time," according to a company update released on Tuesday. The Williams FJ-443A jet engine with FADEC is a breeze to operate, the company says. The pilot simply presses a starter button, then brings the thrust lever forward when the engine monitors show that the proper speed has been reached. The FADEC system automatically corrects for heat, humidity, and altitude. The next major milestone for the POC jet will be high-speed taxi tests, the company said.
In those tests, pilots will accelerate to just below liftoff speed, to check runway handling characteristics and elevator control authority. Next after that -- first flight. Click here for a Piper video of the first taxi tests. Click here for a recent podcast of a Russ Niles interview about the jet project, with Piper's Bob Kromer.