Piper Aircraft says it will immediately begin selling three light sport aircraft entry-level variants ranging in price from $120,000 to $140,000.
The announcement, made at the Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida, caps months of speculation that Piper would buy a substantial portion in light sport airframer, Czech Sport Aircraft (CSA), formerly Czech Aircraft Works.
Rather than purchase a stake in the company, however, Piper has entered a licensing agreement that sees the Czech Republic-based manufacturer build its three 100hp (75kW) Rotax-powered SportCruiser variants under the PiperSport banner. Piper says it will sell the two-seat, low-wing aircraft through a new venture called PiperSport Distribution, with first deliveries set for April.
Under the arrangement, CSA's three SportCruiser variants, the Club, Professional and Tourer, which are assembled in the east Moravian town of Kunovice from parts manufactured in Slovakia, will be rebranded as the PiperSport, PiperSport LT and PiperSport LTD, each with progressively more features and higher price.
Cockpits include Dynon flight displays and Garmin GPS and navigation/communications radios, leather seats and BRS aircraft parachute systems.
According to the Light Aviation Manufacturing Association, CSA ranks number four in light sport aircraft produced worldwide, behind Remos, Flight Design and Tecnam. Cessna entered the light sport arena last year with certification of its China-built high-wing Skycatcher model.