Piper Aircraft has successfully flown its prototype six-passenger single-engine PiperJet from the company’s home base in Vero Beach, Florida.

Pilots Dave Schwartz and Buddy Sessoms departed Vero Beach in the Williams FJ44-3AP-powered personal jet at 1111 local time today, testing basic handling of the metal jet including the effects of pitch trim with power change and basic operations of the engine’s full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system.

 © Piper Aircraft

The crew reached speeds of 160kt and an altitude of 10,000ft (3,048m) during the 1h flight with the landing gear retracted, the first in an initial 50h series of envelope expansion tests that will see side stick-controlled aircraft achieve its 35,000ft maximum operating altitude and 360kt maximum cruise speed.

Piper plans to certify the turbofan as a Part 23 aircraft, with entry into service expected in 2011.

Source: FlightGlobal.com