The 2012 shipment report from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, released on Tuesday, was mixed, with deliveries of piston aircraft down by 2 percent compared to 2011, business jets down 3.4 percent, and turboprops up 10 percent, with growth of 0.6 percent overall for airplanes. Helicopter sales rose 21 percent, reflecting a growing global market. GAMA chairman Brad Mottier said what the numbers don't show is the intense amount of development work now under way across the industry. "The general aviation segment is poised for resurgence in the next few years as these new technologies certify and enter the market," he said.
The major general aviation manufacturers showed no dramatic changes over last year's numbers; for example, production at Cessna rose from 521 aircraft to 571 (including piston, jets, and turboprops), Cirrus kept almost level at 253 deliveries in 2012 compared to 255 the year before, and Diamond grew a bit, with 182 deliveries in 2012, up from 156. GAMA also announced it's expanding its work with the nonprofit group Build A Plane, which is developing a nationwide competition in aircraft design for high-school kids, and with the Recreational Aviation Foundation, which works to open up access to wilderness areas across the nation. The full GAMA report is posted online.