Happy News, For A Change

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GA Movers And Shakers Get Attaboys...

It's always a treat to have good news to report from the GA aircraft-manufacturing world, and we found a few such stories to warm our hearts this week. At the Paris Air Show, Flight International announced its annual Aerospace Industry Awards, giving this year's top honors to Diamond Aircraft, for the DA42 Twin Star. Finalists were Sikorsky Aircraft for its S-92 helicopter, and Cirrus Design for the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System. The awards recognize "a major technological or operational step forward for this diverse but important sector," the organizers wrote. This was the first year that the awards included a category for GA, separate from corporate aviation. Other aerospace achievements that were cited: the FAA's controller-pilot datalink communications, and Jeppesen's terrain and obstacle database.

...And Cirrus, Groen Bros. Report Brisk Sales

And if you can stand it, yet more good news: Cirrus Design, citing the growing demand for its SR20 and SR22 aircraft, announced last week it has more than tripled the size of its sales force, from seven to 24. Cirrus, based in Duluth, Minn., has delivered more than 850 airplanes, and doubled its output in 2002. Also, Groen Brothers Aviation, of Salt Lake City, Utah, announced last week that its subsidiary, American Autogyro Inc. (AAI), is ready to debut the prototype of its new product line, featuring the Sparrowhawk Gyroplane. The aircraft will appear next month at both the Popular Rotorcraft Assoc. convention in Mentone, Ind., and at EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, Wis. AAI is marketing the Sparrowhawk mainly as an airborne police cruiser. "We already have fully paid orders on nearly 20 SparrowHawk Gyroplanes, which we expect will begin being delivered this year," AAI President James Mayfield said a news release last week. "The existing market for a safe, stable, easy-to-fly two-seat gyroplane is already large," he added. Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier said in a news release, "Our airplanes are attracting a new breed of pilot. ... Our new sales team has joined us from a variety of management backgrounds that enables us to interface with the broad spectrum of clients to whom we sell planes."