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In January this year, the deal was announced between Czech Sport Aircraft and Piper Aircraft Corporation which lead to the class leading SportCruiser being re-branded to the PiperSport. The nature of the deal is one of marketing, distribution and branding, so that whilst the aircraft continues to be manufactured by CSA, who remain a wholly independent company and still owning full design rights, Piper will back the product with their extensive global distribution and service network.

This was hailed in the industry and as being the coming together of the great brand that is Piper Aircraft, and CSA's superbly engineered aircraft that is now the PiperSport. The type now enjoys support and exposure from the joint channel of former CSA dealers, and traditional Piper dealers.

Flying Schools benefit from the modern design and avionics, and superb low running costs that the aircraft delivers
The SportCruiser was one of the first aircraft designed to make the most of the USA's Light Sport Aircraft class, and deliver against the full potential of the class (as opposed to being upscaled or downscaled from an existing design). Since April this year, the PiperSport has been able to be used for full flight training purposes in the USA, and flying schools in droves are converting to the type. Flying schools benefit from the modern design and avionics, and superb low running costs that the aircraft delivers, being powered by the fuel efficient and reliable Rotax 912 100HP engine, which also runs off regular unleaded fuel.

In the last month alone (August 2010) 24 new PiperSport aircraft have been delivered to operators in the US.

In Europe, the type continues to be popular with private owners, attracting many audiences – those rightsizing from traditional heavier aircraft, those upgrading from microlight / ultralight aircraft, and those who just want a great plane to tour and enjoy flying in.

During the last 12 months in the European market the UK has set the pace, the aircraft has outsold its closest competitor by a ratio of 6 to 1 on delivered aircraft, consequently making UK type dealer Onega Aviation Europe's leading LSA dealer.

European Certification for Ab-Initio Flight Training and commercial hire & reward Certification imminent
The big news in Europe for the type is the imminent issue of the Restricted Type Certificate for the PiperSport. Issued under the CS-LSA category (ELA1), this will allow the aircraft to be used for ab-initio flight training and use for commercial hire & reward, under VFR day conditions. The aircraft and CSA factory have passed their final assessments from EASA, and so the issue of the final RTC is imminently expected, which in aviation terms means most likely issue within the final quarter this year.

The legacy club training and hire fleet is currently ripe for replacement with new generation aircraft, and the PiperSport will be at the top of many clubs lists of potential aircraft. Experience has shown that where the PiperSport has been chosen to replace older generation fleets, rates of utilisation and post training hire are significantly increased.

Aside from commercial benefits, both students and instructors report greater satisfaction with the complete flight training experience. When a school takes up a student for the first time in the PiperSport, be it as an introduction to flight, or in a conversion from older aircraft, the invariable beaming smile on the landing pilot's face says it all. Given the ever increasing cost of fuel, and question marks over continued availability of Avgas in Europe (there are now only two remaining refineries covering Europe & Africa producing Avgas), the PiperSport makes very good sense to minimise risk of early obsolescence.

Demonstrable calculations also show that an FTO switching across from older aircraft such as the C-152 or Tomahawk can often do this as a cost neutral exercise – the fact being that the savings in direct operating costs alone between the older fleet and the PiperSport closely mirror the cost of finance of the PiperSport. This means that as long as a club qualifies for finance and can afford the deposit, then effectively they can have a shiny new PiperSport to replace increasingly ageing and unreliable aircraft for free!

In particular, the PiperSport is poised as the ideal replacement for the venerable Piper PA-38 Tomahawk aircraft, many of which are rapidly approaching the ten thousand hour wing life limit, which given that it is now 28 years since production ceased, is effectively also an end of the aircraft's economic life.

In days gone by, the factory produced the L- 29 Delphin jet trainer which was used across the soviet union. The deep level of aviation skill, experience and attention to detail of all the design and engineering staff shows in the quality of the product which is now the PiperSport.

Czech Sport Aircraft has a heritage for producing great aircraft.
Recent technical changes to the PiperSport have been made expressly around the needs of the training role. These have included fitting of a beefed up front noseleg – designed to withstand the use and abuse that inevitably comes from training and club roles, and rearranging the cockpit layout so that instructors can easily reach all key flight controls in case of a need to do so.

New options on the aircraft include DV panels (otherwise known as Storm Windows), and Constant Speed Propellors (available in Europe), which respectively allow for great ventilation and views out, and the very best aircraft performance possible.

Combined with a choice of traditional high quality analogue instrumentation or the latest digital Dynon Glass panel fits, the PiperSport fulfils the majority of primary training needs in an aircraft, and represents a very fine 'office' for those lucky enough to have some of the best jobs in the world flying these fine planes for a living.

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