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Piper Aircraft To Layoff Up To 150 Employees

July 16, 2015 - Piper Aircraft Inc. announced the layoff of up to 150 employees due to a lag in sales, “As a direct result of the slowdown in sales, Piper Aircraft will adjust the production schedule for remainder of 2015, as well as 2016.

Aircraft sales for all  manufacturers of small aircraft have been down, piston-engine is down by 20 percent and turboprop aircraft are down about 8 percent.

“While the total number of impacted employees is not yet confirmed, the company expects that the reduction will involve approximately 15 percent to 20 percent of the current workforce”. At present, the company employs about 750 fulltime employees and about 10 part time employees. The drop in employees would bring the companies workforce to about 610 employees.

Back in 2012, Piper struck a tax deal with Indian River County, Florida. Piper agreed that the company would not move its facilities out of Vero Beach and would keep 600 employees on the payroll in Vero Beach. If Piper falls below that number it will have to return $500,000 to the county. Piper President and CEO Simon Caldecott said “We will not drop below the head count required for the state and the county.”

Piper spokeswoman Jackie Carlon said, that the number of employees laid off will depend on the number of employees that are eligible for company early retirement accepts the company's early retirement package. Piper is one of two largest private employers in Indian River County.

Indian River County Chamber of Commerce, Helene Caseltine said, “While it’s certainly disheartening to hear that Piper Aircraft is having to lay off some of their employees, the company remains a key employer in Vero Beach and Indian River County. With its long history tied to Vero Beach, Piper continues to play a significant role in our local economy as it relates to economic impact, and serves as an ‘identifier’ for our community.”



Caldecott said “The team at Piper is committed to the business and as such must make the agonizing decision to adjust accordingly. We are focused on maintaining market share while working toward the completion of the M600 certification program. However, we must better align production with current market demand.”

Back in April, Piper unveiled the newest addition to their M-Class line, the M600, a single-engine, 600 horsepower, cabin class turboprop. The Piper M600 will feature a newly designed wing, furnished with a redesigned, luxurious interior. The M600 will feature Garmin's G3000 avionics – a touch screen controlled glass flight deck. The M600 seats six and is powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42A 600shp engine.

The aircraft will also come with Hypoxia Recognition System with Automatic Descent Mode. The Hypoxia Recognition System detects pilot incapacitation as a result of hypoxia by monitoring pilot interaction with the PFD, MFD, and Autopilot Controller at altitudes above cabin 14,900 feet with the autopilot engaged. If no interaction is detected within a specified time period, this system will engage Automatic Descent Mode and bring the aircraft to a lower altitude in an effort to allow recovery from hypoxia.

The M600 will be able to fly itself without pilot assistance to lower altitudes in the unlikely case the pilot becomes unresponsive. The aircraft will have a maximum cruise speed of 260 ktas and has a max range of 1,300 nm, with a max payload of 1200 lbs. Piper reports the M600 will be available before year’s end and is listed at $2.82 million.
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