The Piper PA-47 "PiperJet" was an ultimately abandoned attempt by Piper Aircraft to introduce a single-engined Very-Light-Jet (VLJ) product to a relatively active market for such aircraft. However, the project became stymied by ballooning development costs and an economic downturn. A sound a product as it was, the PA-47 was never pushed into serial production despite having secured some 180 pre-orders from various global customers. After a project review by the company, the PA-47 project was abandoned in October of 2008 in favor of the proposed Piper "PiperJet Altaire".
The sole PA-47 prototype made the rounds of various air shows during its time in the limelight. In prototype form, the aircraft recorded a first-flight on July 30th, 2008 and was intended to begin service introduction in the early part of 2010.
The primary market competition of the PA-47 at the time was the Cessna Citation line and the Eclipse Aerospace EA500, both VLSs for their respective companies. For the PA-47 commitment, Piper engineers drew up a sleek and compact single engine platform which seated the cockpit behind a long and pointed nosecone. The passenger cabin was lined with smallish rectangular windows while the nose carried larger windows for the pilot(s). The cockpit avionics was a Garmin all-digital, all-glass fit. The swept-back wing mainplanes were situated aft of midships and capped by winglets while tail unit comprised a single vertical fin with a pair of low-set horizontal planes. The engine's position was unique in that it was embedded in the vertical tail unit's base and of a "straight-through" duct design. Fitting the engine aft changed the aircraft's Center-of-Gravity (CoG) and basic thrust effect but made for a quieter ride for the passengers. Passenger seating amounted to six or seven passengers while the flight crew numbered two or as little as one (VLJs could be certified for single-pilot operation in civilian airspace). A tricycle undercarriage was used for ground-running actions.
Structural dimensions of the PA-47 included an overall length of 35.7 feet, a wingspan of 44.2 feet and a height of 15.7 feet.
The powerplant-of-choice for the new PiperJet became the compact and proven Williams FJ44-3AP turbofan engine outputting 2,820lb of thrust. This provided the aircraft with a cruising speed nearing 415 miles-per-hour, a service range out to 1,500 miles, and a service ceiling up to 35,000 feet. A vectored thrust nozzle was eventually added to the engine to improve control and construction of the unit. The engine itself was born from the FJ33 and first appeared in 1985 - having since powered such types as the Cessna CitationJet, the Saab 105 and the Grob G180 SPn.
The PA-47 suffered through many delays during its development period and, before long, the decision by Piper authorities had been made to pursue the PiperJet Altaire instead. Existing PA-47 customers were rolled over into this new initiative which was largely influence in both form and function by the existing PiperJet prototype. The PiperJet Altaire was itself cancelled (or "suspended indefinitely") in October of 2011 due to rising development costs and VLJ market projections and this inevitably led to a layoff of some 150 Piper employees and refunds / product credits for its customers. The company then moved its focus to turboprop-powered types for the foreseeable future.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Used in roles serving the commercial aviation market, ferrying both passengers and goods over range.
Used in roles serving the business aviation market, primarily VIP and regional travel.
Used in the Very-Important-Person (VIP) passenger transport role, typically with above-average amenities and luxuries as standard.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
35.6 ft (10.85 m)
44.3 ft (13.50 m)
15.7 ft (4.78 m)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Piper PA-47 PiperJet production variant)
1 x Williams FJ44-3AP turbofan engine developing 2,820 lb of thrust.
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