GAMA Reported 2019 Shipments, but Aviation Journalists Err in Assessing Cirrus Aircraft Marketing

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

YearSF50 JetSR22 TurboSR22SR20SRVTotal
2019            81                 200              131                53               –                465 
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          169             2,164          3,985          1,459              37          7,814 

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.


  1. Jim Moore, “Piston Trainer Surge Lifted GA Market.  GAMA: 2019 BizJet Deliveries Also at 10-Year High,” AOPA News & Videos, February 19, 2020
  2. Cirrus marketing website, About the Company, “History of Cirrus Aircraft,” www.CirrusAircraft.com, 2020
  3. * 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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Cirrus G6 Payload Management

“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.

Cirrus G6 Situational Awareness

“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.

Cirrus G6 Datalink Weather

“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.

Cirrus Aircraft G6 Traffic Advisory System

“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.

Cirrus Aircraft G6 SurfaceWatch

“Progressive alerts. Are you approaching the right runway? Do you know the distance remaining? Is that the correct taxiway? Dynamically enhance your situational awareness both in the air and on the ground as the aircraft enters and moves through the airport environment.”

“Textual advisories are continuously updating the aircraft location and cyan chevrons highlight the correct runway. Most importantly, urgent alerts like “RWY TOO SHORT” or “CHECK RUNWAY” offer an additional [queue] to improper position.”

Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Perspective+™ by Garmin, marketing brochure, p.21, 2017.

Cirrus G6 Digital Autopilot

“Supreme accuracy. Building on smart servo technology commonly found in multi-million-dollar business jets, the fully digital, dual channel Automated Flight Control System (AFCS) delivers precise lateral and vertical navigation guidance for each phase of flight. The optimal automatic yaw damper is engaged and disengaged automatically at 200 feet AGL, reducing pilot workload and ensuring a smooth ride.”

“Commanding the architecture of each flight component with an ergonomic and thoughtfully placed mode controller, the autopilot also incorporates the industry-leading Blue Level Button, a Cirrus Aircraft standard since 2008. This active safety feature gives the pilot a single touch autopilot-engage button to roll wings level and pitch to a level attitude if momentarily distracted or disoriented.”

“Flight deck automation you can appreciate and count on.”

Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Perspective+™ by Garmin, marketing brochure, p.18, 2017.

Cirrus Perspective+ Keypad Controller

“Designed to align the entire Cirrus family of aircraft and provide similarity between your aircraft and your personal electronic devices, the Cirrus Perspective+ keypad controller features a QWERTY keyboard with larger, more readable keys and additional, dedicated control knobs, including a button to bring you back to your default map. Welcome HOME.”

“Each button and knob is thoughtfully positioned to simplify interaction between the aircraft and the pilot through the intuitive layout and reduction of clutter. Responsive and simple, functions are easy to locate with shallow menus keeping the most frequently used functions at the top-level menu – allowing quick input without getting lost in the software.”

Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Perspective+™ by Garmin, marketing brochure, p.16, 2017.

Cirrus Aircraft G6 Flight Displays

“LED-backlit flight displays are powered by optimized, efficient and powerful processors running next generation software. Crisp imagery and quick response rates enhance the flight deck experience, making the text more readable and critical data transfer to the pilot instantaneous. Now your flight deck thinks just as fast as you do.”

“Cirrus Perspective+ incorporates speed and flexibility in the cockpit to view the status of various aircraft systems as well as checklists, animated weather radar, moving map, traffic and more – all at once. Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT) provides a three-dimensional virtual image of ground and water features as well as obstacles and traffic.”

Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Perspective+™ by Garmin, marketing brochure, p.14, 2017.

Cirrus Aircraft Stall / Spin Barrier System

“From the very early stages of Cirrus development, stall and spin prevention has been central to [their] aircraft design, avionics development and flight training philosophy. Every Cirrus SR series aircraft incorporates the NASA-developed wing technology with a “cuffed” discontinuous leading edge designed to minimize the potential for spin entry after an inadvertent stall.”

“The [G6] digital, three-axis autopilot enables the Electronic Stability & Protection (ESP) system which passively and unobtrusively corrects unusual flight attitudes even when the autopilot is not engaged. Providing both aural and visual alerts, the ESP system displays a pre-stall CAS message warning while the yoke automatically pushes forward to correct low airspeed conditions. Automated ESP supports the pilot and works to prevent the aircraft from entering a stalled condition.”

Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Perspective+™ by Garmin, marketing brochure, p.13, 2017.