Piper Signs Deals With Four Flight Schools For Nearly 100 Archers

Piper Aircraft
Luke Ormsby, Sierra Charlie Aviation program director, flew to AirVenture in the flight school's Piper Seminole. Ormsby was at AirVenture as Piper announced the school’s large order with Piper for training aircraft.
Credit: Molly McMillin

OSHKOSH—Piper Aircraft announced orders at AirVenture 2023 from three new India-based fleet customers for a total of 47 Archer DX diesel-powered trainers and a major order from a U.S. flight school, Sierra Charlie Aviation for 50 Archer TX trainers.

Together, the orders are valued at a total of $50 million.

Sierra Charlie Aviation, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, plans to transition from Cessna 172 Skyhawks to the Piper Archer TX. Its fleet currently includes 17 Cessna 172s and one multi-engine Piper Seminole aircraft in its fleet. 

Delivery of the 50 Archer TX 180 hp, four-seat, low-wing trainers will begin in 2026 and conclude in 2030. The flight school, which has 350 students at campuses located in Scottsdale and in Chandler, Arizona, plans to expand to four locations by next year’s AirVenture, says Luke Ormsby, Sierra Charlie Aviation program director.           

Skynex Aero, based in New Delhi, has ordered 27 Archer DX aircraft for delivery in 2024 and 2025; Dunes Aviation Academy based in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, placed an order for 10 aircraft for delivery in 2024, while Vman Aero Services, based in Mumbai, has 10 aircraft on order for delivery in 2024. 

The three orders for Archer DX aircraft represent about $30 million in revenue and will join an existing fleet of Archer DX trainers operating in the country, including a recent order for 10 by Chimes Aviation, Run Gurnnarson, Piper vice president of sales, marketing and customer support, said during AirVenture.

“For Piper, India is one of the fastest growing commercial aviation markets and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future,” Gunnarson says.

Most recently, Air India signed deals with Airbus and Boeing at the Paris Air Show in June for 470 commercial airliners valued at $70 billion based on list prices with an option for 70 additional aircraft.

The Archer DX is equipped with the Continental CD-155 turbocharged diesel engine and the Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite and has a service ceiling of 14,100 ft. It burns less than 6 gal. of fuel per hr. at 65% power. 

“This aircraft performs as smooth as a turboprop and has ample power for use in all aspects of commercial flight training,” says Chuck Glass, Piper director of international fleet sales. 

In April, Piper announced an order from North Carolina-based flight school Blue Line Aviation for 55 training aircraft with options for 60 more with deliveries to begin later this year. The order includes the single-engine Archer TX and the twin-engine Seminole. 

There are many new trainers coming to the market in the light sport aircraft segment.  But “when it comes to major flight schools flying 800 to 1000 hr. a year and the rigorous needs that are put on those training air vehicles, I still believe that the best trainers available today are American made, and they’re made out of aluminum,” he says. 

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.