Global Market, Flight Schools Boost GA Sales

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No question that 2009 was a bleak year for the U.S. economy, but some GA manufacturers made positive progress in the global market. Pilatus, based in Switzerland, had the best year ever for its PC-12 NG turboprop, delivering 100 copies worldwide. "Achieving 100 deliveries in a single year is a significant milestone for Pilatus and the PC-12 NG production program," said Ignaz Gretener, vice president of general aviation at Pilatus. "This would be true in any year, but the fact we did it last year is simply outstanding." Diamond also announced this week that it has sold seven airplanes in Australia to the University of South Wales aviation department, six single-engine DA40s and a DA42 twin, through its regional distributor, Hawker Pacific. All of the aircraft will be equipped with Garmin G1000 glass cockpits and will be delivered over the next six months. It will be the biggest Diamond delivery ever in Australia, according to the university. Cirrus Aircraft also announced this week a sale of 16 SR20 airplanes to Purdue University's Department of Aviation Technology, which will replace the current fleet of Piper Warriors.

"The collaboration between Purdue University and Cirrus Aircraft launches a new era of next-generation collegiate aviation education," said Brent Bowen, head of the aviation department at Purdue. "Our investment in Cirrus and the resulting technologies will provide us with data acquisition and flight training capability never before possible and allow us to advance aviation education to a new level." The SR20s will be delivered later this year, between March and July. They will all be equipped with Cirrus Perspective by Garmin avionics, Alaka'i Technologies data recorders and Garmin GDL-90 receivers to support ongoing research projects. Cirrus has seen growing sales in Australia, and Cirrus officials said last week they expect slow improvement this year in the U.S., but global sales could rise as much as 50 percent. Click here for last week's Cirrus update by Minnesota Public Radio.