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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High Flight 2019

“Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
 of sun-split clouds, –
And done a hundred things
 You have not dreamed of —
Wheeled and soared and swung
 high in the sunlit silence.
Hovering there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along,
And flung
 my eager craft through footless halls of air . . .

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew;

And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and [sought] the face of God.”

In memory of the author: John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (b. June 9, 1922 – d. December 11, 1941); an American aviator with RCAF and son of Christian Missionaries.

I trust your flying in 2019 was memorable and I hope all your dreams of flight become reality in 2020. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

References: Isa 58:14; PS 19:1; Ex 33:18-23; 2 Chr 7:14

Thanksgiving 2019

It’s Thanksgiving week. A time to stop and be still. A time to reflect.

With gladness, our founding fathers acknowledged the benefits and mercies which God bestowed upon them. Let us not neglect praise to Him for our many good provisions. The ordinary and extraordinary – such as, General Aviation. Our opportunity to ride modern chariots in God’s magnificent heavens! And, to share that experience with family, friends and the next generation.

Hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends (Ps 100:1-5; Ro 6:23).

Delivery flight, 2019 Cirrus Perspective+ SR22T G6, Mc Ghee Tyson Airport (KTYS), Knoxville, TN, photo credit wikiWings
Delivery flight, 2019 Cirrus Perspective+ SR22T G6, Mc Ghee Tyson Airport (KTYS), Knoxville, TN, photo credit wikiWings

The Co-Founder of Cirrus Aircraft Tells His Inspirational Story in a Documentary filmed by Elixirr

If you’re interested in aviation and entrepreneurial stories then the recently released documentary on Cirrus Aircraft and their disruptive innovation is a must see.  The program was sponsored by Elixirr and released in a video series titled Airtime.  Dale Klapmeier, company cofounder, tells his family’s story from humble beginnings through the many collective challenges required to become a dominate competitor in the world of general aviation.

Dale’s family vision built an organizational culture that brings a transformational lifestyle to their customers called – The Cirrus Life.  To this day, the brothers “barnstorming” innovation continues the revolution in general aviation personal transportation.

http://www.Elixirr.com

Training for Your Lifestyle. That’s the Cirrus Approach.

“Training is an important part of living The Cirrus Life™ to the fullest.” Yet your lifestyle is busy. Very busy. That’s why [Cirrus] developed Cirrus Cirrus Approach™. It’s [Cirrus’] global, award-winning training solution that’s designed to deliver training on your schedule.”

“On the go only with you iPad? You can train with [Cirrus’] interactive Flight Operations Manual. Want to squeeze in some aircraft systems training over lunch? Connect to the internet and start an interactive eLearning training module right on your laptop. Have an up-coming business or personal trip and want to train in your plane on the flights there and back? Locate the nearest Cirrus Training Center and schedule a session with a Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot who has been expertly trained to teach in your Cirrus.”

“Cirrus Approach™ has redefined what it means to be a pilot-in-training. Your schedule. Your lifestyle. That’s The Cirrus Life.”

Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Life™ marketing brochure, p.18,19, 2017. https://www.cirrusapproach.com

The Getaway.

“Making unforgettable weekend trips the norm, not the exception.”

“Just the two of you. At your home, the beach, the cabin or the mountains. Or the lake. Or perhaps the Bahamas. Nantucket. Catalina Island. Lake Tahoe. Vail. Every destination you desire within about 1,000 miles becomes a part of your non-stop domain when you are living The Cirrus Life. It all happens in luxury-car comfort and in a matter of hours, while making the phrase, ‘we should do this more often’ a forgotten notion of the past.”

Reference: Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, The Cirrus Life™ marketing brochure, p.16, 17, 2017.