New Piper Aircraft has signed a $3.3 million deal with Arizona-based Westwind Aviation Academy to supply 19 aircraft for use in its ab initio pilot training programme.

Based at Phoenix Deer Valley Airport, Westwind will begin taking delivery of the aircraft in July, to replace Cessna 172s and 172RGs. The fleet deal covers 15 Piper Archer IIIs, two Arrows, and two Seminoles for instrument, commercial and multi-engine training.

Westwind says it chose the Piper aircraft because of their "similarity in operation, system layout and technological capability". All the aircraft will be equipped with Garmin International avionics, including GNS430 multifunction displays with global positioning system and moving map.

Established in 1993, the Academy is expanding, with construction of an additional training facility to begin in May.

Source: Flight International