And, yes, the Piper is that other major aircraft manufacturer, Piper Aircraft, and one of Cessna’s biggest competitors.
AIAA presents the Piper General Aviation Award annually for outstanding contributions leading to the advancement of general aviation. The award honors William T. Piper, Sr., who was founder and first president of Piper Aircraft Corporation. The first recipient of the Piper General Aviation Award in 1989 was Fred Weick of the Piper Aircraft Company; you’ll recall that Weick was one of the designers of the famed PA-28 Cherokee line of products that completely modernized Piper’s fleet and soldiers on today. In fact, the PA-28 turns 50 this year. It was the Cherokee line that gave Cessna’s 100-series of airplanes a run for its money in the important training market, especially in the 1960s and 1970s.
Beyond the competitive irony of Cessna winning an award fostered by Piper, the award this year is for Cessna’s entry into the light sport category–the same year that Piper has introduced it own LSA, the Piper Sport.
What next, the Gulfstream 650 wins the Cessna award for fastest civilian aircraft? It’s no secret that Cessna’s Jack Pelton is pained losing that title to Gulfstream after the Citation X at Mach 0.92. has held it since the Concorde retired. The 650 will cruise at Mach 0.925.
Our story on the Skycatcher, titled “Fun at Mach 0.162” takes some license with that Cessna speed title.