Bankstown-based Sydney Flying College (SFC) last week commissioned the first of six Piper Archer TXs into their training fleet.
The new Archers are part of an 18-month long fleet upgrade program that has seen SFC take on 12 new aircraft with six-eight still to come.
In the past few months the whole world has been upside down with COVID," said SFC president Frank Peronace at the unveiling on 11 November, "yet here we are at its emergence doing what we are doing today, which is unveiling the first four out of six brand new Archer TX.
“What a wonderful aircraft for the student and the club member.”
Nick Jones, Vice President of Australian Piper representative Airflite, said a purchase of six Archers in Australia was a rare event.
“I cannot remember a time when we were delivering this number of new archers in one go in Australia," he said. "It is probably back to the 70s when that last happened. This is really significant.
“It’s a testament to SFCs commitment to putting new aircraft out there on the ramp for those learning and training and those members of the club."
In plannng the fleet upgrade, SFC looked at the Diamond DA40, Tecnam, Archer TX and Cessna offerings, but eventually settled on the Piper because they believed the aircraft had a proven track record, would provide fleet continuity and was competitively priced.
SFC CEO Joseph Pilo was enthusiastic about what the new G1000-equipped Archers would bring to the school.
"For our students its allows them to upgrade their skills and awareness with up to date aircraft using G1000, which feeds into our Cessena 182T with G1000 and then into our Diamond DA42 with G1000.
"Going from training into their first job they will more experienced with the new generation of aircraft."
The Garmin G1000 avionics in the Archer TXs are coupled to a GFC 700 autopilot, a GTS 800 traffic awareness system and a TAWS-B.
"With this level of automation and integration, allows for pilots to have a better situational awareness," Pilo said, "at the same time when under stressful situations, [it] also helps with task prioritisation and management.
"The technology on board is the equivalent to those found in light jets and airliners in terms of functionality."
SFC now has a 38-strong Cherokee training fleet that includes Warriors, Archer IIs and Archer IIIs. The college also operates Cessna 182s, Diamond DA42-Vs and a Beechcraft Duchess.