Industry Finds Hope In Sales Trends

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Despite this week's GAMA report showing a continuing decline in sales of GA aircraft, both Piper and Cirrus said they found some positive trends in the data. Piper noted in a news release that its delivery numbers have increased in each quarter this year, and revenues are up 19 percent compared to the first three quarters of 2010. Piper delivered 26 airplanes in the first quarter, followed by 33 and 34 deliveries in the next two quarters. Cirrus spokesman Todd Simmons said his company recently completed 20 airplanes that are now on their way to China for delivery, and if those had been counted in the GAMA data, Cirrus would have shown an increase over the third quarter last year -- from 61 deliveries to 68. The light sport aircraft segment also recently reported third-quarter delivery numbers.

Cessna's leap in Skycatcher deliveries this year was the biggest story told by the numbers posted last week at ByDanJohnson.com. With 140 FAA registrations logged so far in 2011, Cessna has moved up from the number 8 slot for total LSAs delivered to number 2, topped only by longtime segment leader Flight Design. Among other top producers for this year so far, CubCrafters LSAs totaled 29 registrations, SportCruiser logged 20, and Flight Design totaled 17. Johnson compiles the numbers every quarter based on FAA registrations. "These figures are not identical to sales logged by the companies," he notes, "although, over time, the numbers get closer."