Cirrus Outsells the Competition – 2018

In 2018, Cirrus Aircraft sold 380 piston-engine planes.  That’s up 7% over last year. The annual GAMA report shows Cirrus won half of the traditional “four-seat” airplane sales. Cirrus by design, has successfully resegmented the piston-engine market and separated their airplanes from the competition. 

The Cirrus SR22 outsells Beachcraft Bonanza 21:1. The Cirrus SR series wins 3:1 over Piper Archer and Arrow sales, and 2:1 over Cessna Skyhawk and Skylane sales.

The Cirrus “SR-series of high-performance piston airplanes are the best-selling aircraft in the world for [16] consecutive years – with over 7,260 aircraft operating in over 60 countries.”

Congratulations to the entire Cirrus Aircraft team.

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The Klapmeier Brothers Barnstormed the General Aviation Piston Market to Become the Dominate Leaders

Back in 1999, the General Aviation piston-engine market was ready for innovation.  And, the Klapmeier brothers barnstormed the industry with it to become the dominate leaders.  Cirrus by design, has segmented a high-end niche market away from its competitors. The 2018 GAMA report makes it clear to see if you categorize piston-engine shipments.

In business parlance it’s called market segmentation. All piston sales are not the same. Piper sales do not compete with Light Sport Aircraft (LSA).  Cessna sales don’t compete with taildragger shipments. These are very different customer markets within piston-engine airplane sales. And, a feature doesn’t create market segmentation. Segmentation is not achieved with a claim to “the fastest piston engine plane.”

The 2018 GAMA report shows Cirrus Aircraft won half of the traditional “four-seat” airplane sales. Cirrus has successfully separated their airplanes from the competition.

2018 Piston Single-Engine Shipments

Description2018%
Cirrus SR22 & SR20             380 49%
Piper Archer & Arrrow             114 15%
Piper Malibu Mirage               20 3%
Cessna Skyhawk & Skylane             160 21%
Cessna Turbo Stationair               32 4%
Diamond DA40               45 6%
Beachcraft A/G36               15 2%
Mooney Ovation & Acclaim               14 2%
Sub Total             780 100%
Taildraggers               38      –   
LSA             103      –   
Other               33      –   
Total Single-Engine Piston Shipments             954      –   

Cirrus has defined new airspace for single-engine competition.  Again, this year, hundreds of people are willing to stand in line for a new Cirrus piston-engine airplane and pay $1.0 million dollars each. Why? Has the pursuit of relentless innovation delivered that much product differentiation for Cirrus customers?

In many ways, the piston-engine market is still ready for innovation.  Archaic components remain and need to be upgraded. The market could very well be successfully segmented again or new markets might emerge – how about Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft. Who will be the next visionary to step forward?

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How many airplanes does Cirrus Aircraft sell per year – 2018?

In 2018, Cirrus Aircraft delivered 443 airplanes.  That’s an 18% increase over the previous year.  

Cirrus Design Corp. dba Cirrus Aircraft has been manufacturing planes since 1999. As of December 31, 2018 total customer shipments stand at 7,349. Details by the numbers are in the table below:

Total Cirrus Aircraft Shipments

YearSF50 JetSR22 TurboSR22SR20SRVTotal
2018           63                 180              135                65               –                443 
2017           22                 174              135                46               –                377 
2016              3                 149              133                35               –                320 
2015             –                   142              128                31               –                301 
2014             –                   160              117                31               –                308 
2013             –                   132              112                32               –                276 
2012             –                     88                81                84               –                253 
2011             –                   102              105                48               –                255 
2010             –                   107              115                42               –                264 
2009             –                   150                88                28               –                266 
2008             –                   250              177              115                7              549 
2007             –                   300              288              112              10              710 
2006             –                     30              535              150                6              721 
2005             –                       –                475              116                9              600 
2004             –                       –                459                91                3              553 
2003             –                       –                355              112                2              469 
2002             –                       –                292              105               –                397 
2001             –                       –                124                59               –                183 
2000             –                       –                    –                  95               –                  95 
1999             –                       –                    –                     9               –                     9 
Total           88             1,964          3,854          1,406              37          7,349 

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A different flight slope – 2019

This week I’m taking a break from general aviation to join up on a different flight slope – The ski slopes in Vail Colorado. It’s “high altitude” but my feet are still on the ground. We hope you can take some time off this season to rest and enjoy fellowship with family and friends.

2008 Cirrus Perspective SR22TN Turbo photo by wikiWings
2008 Cirrus Perspective SR22TN Turbo with TKS inadvertent de-icing system, photo by wikiWings

Blue sky!

How many SF50 Vision jets has Cirrus Aircraft shipped – 2018?

In 2018, Cirrus Aircraft delivered 63 Vision Personal Jets. That’s a 186% increase over the previous year. Total customer shipments stand at 88. Production is ramping up, but it will take years for supply to get ahead of demand.

The Cirrus Personal Jet was certified for customer delivers in October 2016.

Cirrus Vision SF50 Jet Shipments
Year Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet
2018  63
2017  22
2016  3
2015  –
Total  88

Source: GAMA.aero

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The GAMA 2019 State of the Industry press conference is next week

GAMA Chairman and Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. President Mark Burns and GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce will present the GAMA 2019 State of the Industry press conference on Wednesday February 20, 2019. They will also unveil the 2018 year-end aircraft shipment and billings numbers and discuss industry priorities for the year ahead.

We’ll summarize the general aviation shipments for piston engine planes, single prop turbines and light jets in future posts.

No more magnetos?

We really need electronic ignition for piston engine airplanes. Magnetos are an archaic mechanical device from a by-gone era. Magnetos drift and fail. The FAA knows this and requires mandatory 500 hour inspections and repairs.

At least two companies are working on electronic ignition replacements for piston engine airplanes: Surefly Electronic Ignition and Electroair Electronic Ignition Systems.

Surefly began operations in 2015 and have offices in Granbury Texas and Terre Haute Indiana. Their objective is an affordable drop-in solid state replacement magneto. As of January 2019, they have an engine STC but still need an airframe STC. The fly out price for their solution may be around $2,000.

Electroair is based in Howell Michigan and began operations in 1992. Several COPA members have installed Electroair’s electronic ignition system in their Cirrus airplanes. Fly out price is about $10,000.

Join Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association to see the complete member discussions of both products in the COPA online forum.

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Damn the magnetos, full speed ahead!

Magnetos are an archaic mechanical device from a by-gone era. Prone to drift and fail. The FAA knows this. That’s why the FAA requires mandatory 500 hour magneto inspections and repairs (IRANs).

Do you realize – to get 2,000 hours from a Cirrus piston engine airplane you’ll spend between $6,000 to $10,000 on magnetos alone. Piston engine manufacturers and airplane companies don’t seem to care.

It reminds me of Admiral David Farragut’s famous quote from 1864 in the battle of Mobile Bay “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” It’s from the 19th century. The same century in which the first magneto was invented – 1832.

Admiral Farragut’s shout out was on Mobile Bay in Alabama, which is the same bay that the Continental Motors factory sits across from. Here’s our shout out.

Deliver us piston electronic ignition! Come on – we’re in the 21st century! For aviation safety, reliability, and operating cost this should become a GA priority.

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The COPA U.S.A. Conference 2019 will be held in New Orleans, LA October 17-19

“A 17-year tradition continues in New Orleans, LA, with hundreds of Cirrus aircraft arriving to attend the annual COPA meeting, trade show, educational seminars, and social events.” It’s called COPA Migration 17 (M17).

The Hilton New Orleans Riverside will serve as the M17 base of ops for meetings, including trade show and seminars. On Friday morning, COPA will hold its annual meeting and safety stand down. There will be an M17 social banquet on Saturday night.

The annual COPA Migrations host the largest gathering of COPA members each year. If you’re interested in Cirrus airplanes you should plan on attending. Early registration begins soon.

Here are a few benefits of joining Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association COPA

Here are a few of the benefits to joining Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA). Many pilots become members before purchasing a Cirrus Aircraft.

With a membership, you’ll receive a subscription to the Cirrus Pilot Magazine and the annual safety edition.

Do you have a question about Cirrus airplanes? Odds are it’s already been answered. If not, join into the conversation and ask a question. You’ll have access to an expansive list of COPA Forum topics online.

Interested in flight safety? You’ll have access to Cirrus Aircraft Safety Information. You can review the specific history of 83 Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) saves, Cirrus accident rates, Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Program (CPPP) and more.

Membership gives you easy reference to local, regional and national Cirrus Seminars, Social Events, and Aviation Discounts.

Join today – it’s easy and affordable.