Sierra has recently taken delivery of new Piper Seminoles. The Seminoles will, over the course of this summer, replace the Beechcraft Duchess as the aircraft used for the Multi-Engine Commercial. Word has it that the planes are only about 3 years old and equipped with GPS.
The only thing I have heard is that for the mean time we are sharing these planes with the Livermore Sierra Academy Koren Air Facility, which is fine with me as long as it doesnt become a problem with scheduling and we get equal access to them. Its good to see that they finally got GPS in some planes, I think its a valuable resource that should be taught and utilitized.
Yes, initially the planes are to be shared between the Oakland and Livermore facilities. For logistical reasons, the transition will take a few months. As those who are currently training in the Duchess get finished, the Duchess will slowly become phased out. The Seminole will become the multi trainer at Sierra.
The 5 Seminoles Sierra has at this time are being shared and are from Pan Am. They are not solely for the Korean program. As far as the rumor about some of them going back to Pan Am . . . I suppose that could be true, but it doesn't really matter because Sierra will be acquiring enough of them to keep the Seminole as the trainer. Some could be sent back to Pan Am, get more from somewhere else - what's the difference, I guess.
I recently found out that the Piper aircraft company has been sold 3 times in the past 2 years. Their entire parts department is staffed by one person. The company has so little money that they have no overstock. Most every part is made to order, causing huge delays of 110 days or more. Anyone thinking of purchasing a Piper should think again. With regard to Sierra's shared Seminoles, they are reconsidering the continued use of any Piper product due to the lack of parts availability.