What are the GA Flight Hours by Aircraft Type and Reason in the United States

In 2018, total General Aviation flight hours were 25.5 million. PricewaterhouseCoopers divided GA flight hours into four categories: Personal, Business without a Paid Crew; Business with a Paid Professional Crew and Other.

Personal: Included operation of GA aircraft for personal and recreational reasons. The pilots of personal-use aircraft are typically the owner and PWC assumed that owners tie-down their aircraft rather than rent hangar space (which under estimates the economic impact of personal-use GA aircraft because many owners rent hangar space). About 7.7 million or 30% of GA flight hours were for personal flight.

Business without Paid Crew: Typically flown by the owner of the aircraft who is not paid for flight operations. It’s assumed that owners rent space in a shared hangar and pay business insurance rates on the aircraft.

Business with Paid Professional Crew: Owners of such aircraft are assumed by PWC to rent a hangar, pay a lower business insurance rate, and hire professional pilot and flight crew. Air taxi and air medical services are assumed to have this cost profile. About 31% or 7.8 million GA hours were for business purposes. Business-use with a paid crew accounts for the majority (79%) of turboprop and jet-powered airplane hours.

Other: Included flight instruction, aerial applications in agriculture and other industries, aerial observation, and sight-seeing. It’s assumed “other-use” aircraft operate with a paid pilot but no paid crew. This large grouping included about 10 million hours or 39% of all GA flight hours. And, represented the majority (61%) of flight hours for rotorcraft.

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, “Contributions of General Aviation to the US Economy in 2018,” PWC, Published 2020, page 6.

Table 1: GA Hours by Aircraft Type and Reason in 2018

PersonalBus. w/o Paid CrewBus. w/ Paid CrewOtherHours
Piston Airplanes          5,790                  1,103                   551           6,342         13,786 
Turboprop             219                     192                1,176           1,149           2,736 
Jet-Powered             459                     230                3,582              321           4,592 
Helicopters               88                       29                  847           1,929           2,922 
Experimental          1,071                       67                    13              187           1,339 
Other               77                       29                      1                54              131 
Total          7,704                  1,649                6,171           9,982         25,506 

PricewaterhouseCoopers was engaged by the general aviation industry trade associations to help quantify the contribution of GA to the United States economy. PWC defined General Aviation as the manufacture and operation of any type of aircraft issued an airworthiness certificate by the FAA, excluding military operations and scheduled commercial airlines.

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How Many GA Flight Hours Occur in the United States?

In 2018, total General Aviation flight hours were 25.5 million (25,500,000). Piston-engine flight hours were over 15 million hours or 59% of the total GA flight hours.

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, “Contributions of General Aviation to the US Economy in 2018,” PWC, Published 2020, page 6.

PricewaterhouseCoopers was engaged by the general aviation industry trade associations to help quantify the contribution of GA to the United States economy. PWC defined General Aviation as the manufacture and operation of any type of aircraft issued an airworthiness certificate by the FAA, excluding military operations and scheduled commercial airlines.

Table 1. Hours by Aircraft Type

DescriptionHoursPercent
Single-Engine Piston       12,092,000 47%
Twin-Engine Piston         1,694,000 7%
Turboprop         2,736,000 11%
Jet-Powered         4,592,000 18%
Helicopters         2,922,000 11%
Experimental         1,339,000 5%
Other            131,000 1%
Total       25,506,000 100%

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Connecting Aviators® and related marks and logos are property of wikiWings®

How Many General Aviation Aircraft are in the United States?

Over the next several weeks, we’ll blog a few factoids from the PricewaterhouseCoopers General Aviation report that was released in early 2020. Let’s start with, how many GA aircraft are there in the US? Answer: In 2018, the total GA fleet size was 211,743 aircraft. More than 173,000 had piston engine propulsion which represented 82% of the GA fleet.

TABLE 1. US General Aviation Fleet Size by Type Aircraft, 2018

Single-Engine Piston130,18061%
Twin-Engine Piston12,8606%
Turboprop9,9245%
Jet-Powered14,5957%
Helicopters9,9885%
Experimental30,08414%
Other4,1122%
Total211,743100%
Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, “Contributions of General Aviation to the US Economy in 2018,” PWC, Published 2020, page 6.

PricewaterhouseCoopers was engaged by the general aviation industry trade associations to help quantify the contribution of GA to the United States economy. PWC defined General Aviation as the manufacture and operation of any type of aircraft issued an airworthiness certificate by the FAA, excluding military operations and scheduled commercial airlines.

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Connecting Aviators® and related marks and logos are property of wikiWings®

Soar we now . . . 2020

It’s Good Friday.  I hope you can take some time off, rest this weekend, and indeed say  “Christ the Lord is Risen,”  As Charles Wesley wrote, circa 1739 –

Soar we now where Christ has led;
Following our exalted Head;
Made like him, like him we rise;
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies. Alleluia!

Your Glory hidden in creation is now revealed in Christ.

1 Cor. 15:1-8; & 12-28; 1 Tim 1:17

Clouds rising. Tribute to Soar we now, Charles Wesley, 1739
Clouds rising. Tribute to “Soar we now . . . . ” Charles Wesley, 1739

Who is the 2019 General Aviation Single-Engine Market Share Leader

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.

GAMA Manufacturer Shipments Single-Engine Pistons 2019

Description2019Market Share
Cirrus SR22T, SR22, SR2037541%
Piper Archer18220%
Piper Malibu M350212%
Cessna Skyhawk & Skylane15917%
Cessna Turbo Stationair374%
Diamond DA4012614%
Bonanza G3671%
Mooney Ovation & Acclaim91%
Sub Total916100%
Taildraggers54
LSA & Other141
Total GA Single-Engine Piston Shipments1,111

Note: Piper Arrow & Warrior Shipments in 2019 = Zero

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Connecting Aviators® and related marks and logos are property of wikiWings®

A Different Flight Slope 2020

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.

Blue Sky

White River National Forest, Vail Colorado Ski Area, winter 2020, photo by wikiWings, LLC
White River National Forest, Vail Colorado Ski Area, winter 2020, photo by wikiWings, LLC

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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Connecting Aviators® and related marks and logos are property of wikiWings®

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