Shipments of general-aviation aircraft totaled 1,843 units in the first six months of this year, a 19-percent increase over the same period last year, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) announced last week at AirVenture. "This is the highest recorded billings for the first half of a year in general aviation's history," said Pete Bunce, president of GAMA. "With our manufacturers' current backlog, we are confident that this trend will continue throughout the remainder of 2006." Industry billings totaled $8.8 billion, a 35-percent rise over last year. The biggest increase was in business-jet sales, which rose 28 percent to 415 units, but the overall upward trend was evident in all aircraft segments, GAMA said. Shipments of piston-powered airplanes were up 17 percent from the same period last year, to 1,270 units. Turboprop shipments rose 12 percent, to 158. "We are very encouraged by this continued positive trend, but we are closely monitoring the potential impact that rising fuel prices and interest rates may have on our dynamic worldwide industry," said Bunce. "Without question, these strong numbers demonstrate the powerful contribution general aviation makes to all economies and how important it is to preserve and promote the freedom of flight." The full shipment report can be found at GAMA's Web site.