PiperSport Just A Name: Distributor
Regardless of its name, the soon-to-be-former PiperSport will continue to be a part of the LSA market, according to the head of the company that brings them into the U.S. Piper announced earlier this week that it was dropping the PiperSport, citing a difference in business goals with its manufacturer, Czech Aircraft Works (CZAW). Although Piper branded what used to the SportCruiser, the airplane will continue to be sold without Piper's involvement. In an exclusive podcast interview with AVweb on the eve of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla., U.S. Sport Aircraft CEO Don Ayres said it's "business as usual" despite the parting of ways between Piper and CZAW. "Aircraft will continue to be sold and supported," he said.
Piper's sudden departure a week before the biggest sport aviation show in the U.S. will leave some awkward reminders for those attending Sebring. The show aircraft are emblazoned with the Piper logo, as are all the tents and promotional material at the booth. But Ayres is unfazed. "Piper said they would continue to support us through Sebring and for another 90 days," he said. As the PiperSport, 45 aircraft were sold but Ayres said he's not concerned about the name brand departure. "I've sold five airplanes since the announcement," he said. Piper and CZAW are expected to make a joint statement at Sebring but Ayres said he doesn't expect them to say anything different from what has been publicly released.