The desire for turbocharged power has carried Cirrus Aircraft over another milestone – Cirrus has more turbo deliveries than all other aircraft manufacturers combined (since 2007). In 2019, Cirrus sold 200 SR22T Turbo planes and surpassed 2,134 turbo deliveries.
Currently, there are only four companies manufacturing competing piston single-engine turbos. The Cirrus SR22T Turbo outsells the Piper M350 about 10:1, Cessna Turbo Stationair ~5:1, Mooney Acclaim ~29:1.
Cirrus SR22T Turbo climbs like a beast and is designed to run cooler than predecessor turbos. It’s the best selling turbo piston airplane by more than a mile.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association published their annual report in February. Here’s a summary of GA single-engine piston shipments by manufacturer. Cirrus Aircraft is once again the leader in their category.
“Years of thoughtful design have led [Cirrus] to this point. A point where the flight deck thinks as fast as you do. A point where information to make decisions is rapidly available at your fingertips. A point where seamless integration between technology and the aircraft is realized. A point where the best selling high-performance piston line of aircraft from Cirrus raises the bar yet again on what it means to have the smartest, safest avionics available.”
“Unrivaled integration. Intuitive connectivity. Uncompromising safety. That’s Cirrus Perspective+. Exclusively available in the Cirrus Aircraft SR Series.
Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Perspective+™ by Garmin, marketing brochure, p.30, 2017.
This past week I took 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 were still on the ground. We hope you can take some time off this season to rest and enjoy fellowship with family and friends.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) published aircraft manufacturer shipments for 2019. After the report, Jim Moore, AOPA Editor-Web said, “Cirrus continues to lead the single-engine piston market by a wide margin, with sales of the SR22T alone climbing to 200 units in 2019, up from 180 delivered in in 2018. [But] Cirrus saw its older piston models slip in sales . . . (1)” I’m not sure Jim has seen the 6th Generation Cirrus SR20. It’s cutting edge, not an older piston model.
Right now, the big General Aviation story is training aircraft shipments. But Cirrus doesn’t focus on that market. For decades, Cirrus has pursued a new market – piston personal transportation that delivers high performance, safety and luxury. When specific customers are narrowly targeted business writers recognize it as market re-segmentation.
Cirrus SR Series shipments last year were 384 v. 380 in 2018, which scores another record for Cirrus Aircraft since the 2008 Great Recession (see Table 1). A quick glance into the stats does show fewer SR20’s delivered last year 53 v. 65 in the prior period. But here’s the rest of the story.
Cirrus reps have said, the company “suppresses” SR20 sales because that model has a lower margin than the SR22 Series. If accurate, the manufacturing tactic is reflected in the stats. Shipments for their highest margin product, the SR22T Turbo were up 11% over the prior year. Normally aspirated SR22 production runs have averaged 132 units annually for the past half-decade. Like other manufacturers, it appears Cirrus adjusts model production runs for optimal profitability. For years, steady customer demand has maintained more than a 6-month delivery wait on 6th Generation SR Series airplanes.
For those new to the Cirrus brand here’s a recap: “In 2000, Cirrus received Type Certificate for a composite piston aircraft, with a larger wing and larger fuel capacity and more powerful engine – the SR22. Just three years later, the SR22 became the world’s best-selling general aviation airplane . . . and has continued to hold that distinction every year since [17 years. But] holding the title of the best-selling general aviation aircraft every year has not stopped Cirrus from pursuing continuous innovation on the SR Series aircraft (2).”
For those watching, Cirrus is relentlessly pursuing a new market for single-engine turbofan personal transportation, which they coined “The Personal Jet.” Cirrus is holding deposits from more than 500 pilots who want to take delivery; however, a ramp-up in production of the Cirrus SF50 Personal Jet has not yet begun. This new market appears opaque to aviation journalists. Many perceive incorrectly that Cirrus has entered the Very Light Jet market (VLJ).
Cirrus has over 7,800 aircraft operating in more than 60 countries. Congratulations to the entire Cirrus Aircraft team.
Table 1. Historic Cirrus Aircraft Shipments
Note: Cirrus factory installed STC Tornado Alley Turbonormalized (TAT) shipments are not listed in GAMA statistics. From 2006 – 2010, the FAA Registration for Cirrus planes with TAT systems is “SR22.” See reference info. (3) below.
Jim Moore, “Piston Trainer Surge Lifted GA Market. GAMA: 2019 BizJet Deliveries Also at 10-Year High,” AOPA News & Videos, February 19, 2020
* Jeffrey S. Brewer, “Cirrus has the best-selling Turbocharged Airplane,” statistics by year for factory installed Tornado Alley Turbo Normalized STC Shipments, phone interview Matt Bergwall, Cirrus Product Marketing Manager, www.wikiWings.com, circa April, 2014
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“Smart loading. The Weight and Balance synoptic page makes every input easy and accurate. Every gallon of fuel and TKS fluid, seat occupied and bag stowed can be accounted for in the center of gravity calculation. Know with confidence that you can complete your flight safely and legally.”
Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Perspective+™ by Garmin, marketing brochure, p.29, 2017.
“Tactical advantage. Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT) seamlessly blends aircraft position with 3D topographic images while enhanced Terrain Awareness and Warning System (eTAWS) provides caution and warning alerts both visually and audibly. In addition to these capabilities, the “forward looking” terrain avoidance software warns the pilot of numerous hazards including premature and excessive rates of decent, negative climb rate or altitude loss after takeoff. Highway in the Sky (HITS) offers the pilot the additional peace of mind that the aircraft is on the desired flight path – whether enroute, on approach or on the missed approach. The Vertical Situational Display (VSD) provides an intuitive presentation of the terrain, winds, flight plan waypoints and decent path along your route of flight.”
Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Perspective+™ by Garmin, marketing brochure, p.27, 2017.
“Informed, intelligent and instant decisions. Never before have you had such comprehensive weather at your fingertips. Through ADS-B In weather and satellite weather services, multiple weather products can be displayed by Cirrus Perspective+ flight deck: animated radar, cell movement, lightening, satellite cloud tops, icing potential and freezing levels, METARS, TAFs, SIGMETS/AIRMETS and winds aloft, just to name a few. The animated NEXRAD weather provides a precise composite weather picture, allowing the pilot to monitor weather trends in order to make informed and safe decisions.”
Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Perspective+™ by Garmin, marketing brochure, p.25, 2017.
“Eye in the sky. High performance active traffic system, designed for high-performance aircraft, scans distances of 22 NM and detects up to 45 targets in 10,000-foot vertical separation. The added course trend vectors help identify and track specific aircraft flight trajectories with much greater precision while safety measures such as ATC-like aural alerts (“Traffic, Three o’clock, Same Altitude, Two Miles”) allow the pilot to keep heads-up scanning for traffic in congested areas.”
Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Perspective+™ by Garmin, marketing brochure, p.23, 2017.