Piper Aircraft says it has all first-tier suppliers under contract to produce the company's $2.5 million Altaire single-engined jet, including Michigan-based Global Tooling Systems (GTS), a subsidiary of the UK's Hampson Aerospace.

GTS in January signed a contract with the Vero Beach-based airframer to supply a complete turnkey design, fabrication, installation, testing and certification for the assembly and bond tooling for the six-seat, Williams International FJ44-33AP-powered jet's fuselage, empennage and wing.

The company says it has "committed 175 engineering personnel" to the jet programme and top-level assembly drawings are in progress.

In addition, GTS tool designers are "on site" at Piper's facilities and will be delivering tools over the next 12 months, says Piper, adding that renovations to future Altaire production facilities in Vero Beach are under way and will be completed this summer.

"The building will be tooled and ready for aircraft production during 2012," says the company. "Construction of the static test rig for US Federal Aviation Administration structural testing requirements has begun and will be complete this year."

Piper says production parts for the first of four conforming flight-test aircraft are complete, with first flight of the first certification aircraft on schedule for 2012. First customer deliveries are planned for 2014.

Source: Flight International