NEW PIPER AIRCRAFT will unveil on 16 January its first substantially new design since emerging from bankruptcy in 1994, when it takes the wraps off its Seneca V piston twin. The latest Seneca has new engines and avionics, improved performance and a modified appearance, and is described by Piper as an "almost new" design.

The aircraft was certificated in December after flight-testing was conducted in secrecy at Piper's Vero Beach, Florida, plant. Only the company's distributors were allowed to view the aircraft, with the result that the planned 1997 production of 35 Seneca Vs has already been sold out.

The Seneca V is a key element in Piper's plan to sell 210 aircraft and generate $100 million in sales in 1997, up from 186 aircraft and $84 million in 1995 and 165 aircraft and $70 million in 1994. The company built 17 Seneca IVs in 1996. Piper plans to unveil a turbocharged version of one of its existing designs later this year.

Source: Flight International