Millennium wins contract for Piper seats

Wichita aircraft interior company Millennium Concepts is working on a project designing and building passenger and crew seats for Piper Aircraft's new very light jet, the PiperJet.

The contract "is a huge feather in our hat," Millennium's president and managing director Kevin Reifschneider said Thursday. "We're pretty excited about this program."

The company is now focused on the development and certification phase of the project. By the end of the year, Millennium plans to add two or three additional engineers.

Eventually, it will open another production line to build the seats, Reifschneider said.

The company expects to add about 10 manufacturing and assembly employees in 2012 and five or 10 more in 2013. Millennium Concepts currently employs 35 people.

Piper chose Millennium Concepts because the company offered a "seat that would fit our needs," said Piper's director of marketing Jackie Carlon. "They have a proven track and history in this industry."

First delivery of the $2.12 million jet is scheduled for early 2013. The plane will provide seating for up to seven people.

The seats for the PiperJet are lighter in weight and have been ergonomically designed, the company said. They've been tested to withstand 30 times the force of gravity, or 30 Gs.

A mock-up of the PiperJet, including the seats, will be on display next month at the National Business Aviation Association's annual convention in Atlanta.

Millennium Concepts was founded in 1999 by former Bombardier Aerospace engineers and designers who left to start their own engineering and aircraft completions firm.

Since it opened, Millennium has done the interiors of aircraft for professional sports teams, movie stars, heads of state and Las Vegas casinos.

Its customer base includes Bombardier Aerospace, Associated Air Center, B/E Aerospace, Diamond Aircraft, Embraer, Gore Design, Hawker Beechcraft, the Nordam Group, Quest Aircraft and Yingling Aviation.