Piper Announces End of the PiperSport LSA
January 12, 2011 — Citing differences in business philosophies, Piper Aircraft Inc. announced Wednesday it would terminate its business relationship with Czech Sport Aircraft, which produced a light-sport aircraft (LSA) that Piper marketed as the PiperSport and introduced at last year’s U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida.
“After a year working with Czech Sport Aircraft, Piper determined that it is in our company’s best long-term interests to discontinue the business relationship which distributed a light-sport aircraft manufactured by the Czech company and distributed under Piper’s brand by a separate distributor network,” said Piper CEO Geoffrey Berger. “Clearly, the company has a different business perspective and approach to the market than Czech Sport Aircraft.”
Piper spokesperson Jackie Carlon said Piper remains enthusiastic about the LSA market, and the decision to end the relationship with CSA required a lot of evaluation. But at the end of the day, the company made the fundamental decision to part ways.
“Our biggest concern is to ensure our support for LSA,” she said, noting that the company will be at Sebring January 20-23, and Piper remains a sponsor of the event. “We will be there exhibiting.”
Carlon said PiperSport sales were “robust” and had met goals - “north of 70 aircraft” - since the January 2010 launch. “It’s a good product,” she said. PiperSports will continue to be supported through the distributor network that was created specifically to market the aircraft manufactured and supported by Czech Sport Aircraft.
In its news release, Piper stated that as the company built that distributor network, “it became clear that Piper’s core strengths and that of Czech Sport Aircraft were mismatched.”
“We at Piper have a close affinity with this emerging segment of the marketplace and we have great expectations for the LSA industry,” Berger added. “The LSA we were distributing is a good one and we encourage aviation enthusiasts to continue their support of this segment of the market.”
EAA Sport Aviation Technology Columnist Max Trescott says that the PiperSport will continue to thrive due to the strong dealer network that Piper created.
“The PiperSport is a terrific airplane and was one of the top selling LSAs in 2010.” Trescott said. “While Piper has chosen to end it's involvement with the project, the aircraft most likely will continue to be one of the top selling LSAs, though under a different name.”
Trescott added that he wouldn’t be surprised if Piper rolls out their own LSA in the future, but in the meantime he says that momentum is likely to swing toward the Cessna Skycatcher.
EAA is attempting to contact representatives at Czech Sport Aircraft, which is based in the Czech Republic.