Cirrus Overtakes Skyhawks

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Must Be Those Cute Chutes...

While last week's first-quarter production numbers showed that GA manufacturing is creeping out of its recent doldrums (though still far from its peak), the data also revealed some subtle shifts taking place in the industry. "This is a historic day for Cirrus," company spokesman John Bingham told the Duluth News Tribune on Saturday -- for the first time, Cirrus Design produced more single-engine four-seaters than any other manufacturer. With 105 shipments, Cirrus outpaced, by 16, the venerable Cessna Aircraft Co. "There's a huge sense of determination to build on this," Bingham said. "We know we've still got three more quarters to go." Bingham added that the company has orders for 170 airplanes, enough to keep the plant busy through midyear. Cessna and Cirrus are now dominating the top of the pack for single-engine piston four-seaters -- the next-closest player is Diamond Aircraft, which sold 44 DA40s in the first quarter. Cirrus shipped 66 SR22s, making it the highest-selling single model in the fleet, 38 SR20s, and 1 SRV, its VFR-only model. Cessna shipped 61 Skyhawks and 28 Skylanes. Cirrus has made no secret that it plans to become the world's largest manufacturer of personal aircraft. Since its startup in 1994, Cirrus has built more than 1,000 airplanes, and is the only manufacturer to include a ballistic parachute as standard equipment on all its models.