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30th of July 2008

Most people in aviation know the name Piper. Could be because of the Piper Aztec, Piper Supercub, Piper Seneca or the Piper Navajo, to name a few. But what about the Piper Jet, or as it is officially named, the Piper Pa-47 PiperJet or as it was redesignated and redesigned the Piper Jet Altaire?? This VLJ mad its first flight on this day in aviation history.

It was the first design of a single-engine civilian jet with the engine installed in a pod, located in or on the tail of the aircraft.

The original Piper Jet

The project became public in 2006 as a counterpart to aircraft like the Eclipse 500 and the Citation Mustang, The fuselage was 4' (1.2 meters) longer than the Piper PA-46 but shared the same fuselage diameter. It was designed to carry up to 7 passengers over a distance of 1300 nm (~2.400 km). Williams International was chosen to supply its FJ44-3APturbofan engine for the PiperJet. Due to the location of the engine, a power increase would result in a nose-down moment. To counter this (deemed) undesirable effect the horizontal stabiliser was initially fitted with an automatic trim system linked to the thrust setting of the engine. This was later replaced by a (weight saving) vectored thrust nozzle developed by Williams. The program target for entry into service initially was 2010, which later was pushed back a couple of years.

The program came to halt when Piper announced the development of the Piper Altair. Major changes from the PiperJet that were incorporated in the Piper Altaire were (amongst others):

  • 4" increase in cabin height

  • 9"increase in the cabin width

  • Removal of wing spar from cabin interior

Williams was again chosen as the engine Piper Altair cabin supplier, the FJ44-3APturbofan once again being selected.

The Piper Altair

However, it was not to be as in October 2011 the program was indefinitely suspended due to economic issues. General specifications for the original PA-47 PiperJet

  • Crew: 1 or 2 pilots

  • Capacity: 6-7 passengers

  • Length: 35 ft 8 in (10.87 m)

  • Wingspan: 44 ft 3 in (13.49 m)

  • Height: 15 ft 8 in (4.78 m)

  • Full fuel payload: intended to be 800 lbs (363 kg)

  • Powerplant: 1 × Williams FJ44-3AP turbofan, 2,820 lbf (12.5 kN) thrust


  • Cruise speed: 360 kn (410 mph, 670 km/h)

  • Range: 1,300 nmi (1,500 mi, 2,400 km)

  • Service ceiling: 35,000 ft (11,000 m)


  • Garmin glass cockpit

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