Columbia Delivers at AOPA Expo

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A year ago, Sherry Nesbitt Gettinger was a newly minted pilot who was presented with the “Newest Pilot Award” at AOPA Expo 2005. She is now instrument rated, and yesterday at AOPA Expo 2006 Gettinger received the keys to Columbia Aircraft's 500th aircraft, a Columbia 350. “This is a tremendous milestone for our company and we’re very pleased to present our 500th aircraft to Sherry and her family,” Columbia Aircraft Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Randy Bolinger said during the handover ceremony.

Gettinger is only one of many new Columbia owners -- the company said it delivered 63 aircraft in the third quarter. This brings total shipments for the first nine months of this year to 130, 16 more than the same period last year. "Delays certifying the Garmin G1000 panel in Q1 and Q2 that forced refinishing of 66 aircraft awaiting delivery reduced our total year-to-date numbers," noted Columbia President Bing Lantis. "However, we're still ahead of last year's pace." Lantis yesterday reported that the avionics troubles are mostly behind the company, while sales are very strong and Columbia has been "operationally profitable since the late summer."