How many aviation pilots are there?

The 2018 GAMA report of FAA statistics indicates there are a total of 633,316 certificated pilots. Here’s a General Aviation factoid summary.

2018 Pilot Statistics

Description2018
Student       167,804 
Recreational              147 
Sport           6,246 
Private       175,771 
Commercial       115,776 
Airline Transport       167,572 
Total       633,316 

In 2018, the number of women pilots was 46,485 or about 7.34% of the total. Up from prior years but still too low. The FAA began reporting Remote Pilot statistics in 2016. Last year, the total registered pilots for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles was 106,321.

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General Aviation Factoids 2019

The 2018 GAMA Annual Report carried many interesting facts.  Here are four that I’d like to share with you about General Aviation:

General Aviation

  • Flies to more than 5,000 U.S. public airports, but the scheduled airline carriers serve less than 400 of these locations.
  • Flies about 25 million flight hours, of which two-thirds are for business purposes in the United States.
  • Is the primary training ground for commercial airline pilots.
  • Supports $219 billion in total economic output and 1.1 million jobs in the United States.

General Aviation is defined as all aviation other than military and scheduled commercial airlines.

Reference: General Aviation Manufacturers Association Annual Report

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Cirrus has the Best Selling Turbocharged Airplane

In 2019, Cirrus will surpass two-thousand (2,000) turbocharged airplane deliveries. Pilots’ desire for turbocharged power has carried the company past another milestone – Cirrus has more turbo deliveries than all other turbo single-engine manufactured planes combined since 2007.

In 2018, Cirrus sold 180 turbo SR22T planes.  Almost half of their piston engine deliveries are turbo. In just twelve years, customers have purchased more than 1,964 turbocharged planes from Cirrus. It’s the best selling turbo piston airplane.

Continuous improvements to the plane’s design have won customers over. Along with Cirrus, there are now only three other companies manufacturing traditional “four-adult” piston turbo single-engine planes. Currently, the Cirrus SR22T Turbo outsells the Piper Malibu Mirage 9:1 and the Cessna Turbo Stationair 6:1. 

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.

Reference: GAMA.aero Annual Reports for piston-single engine shipments; and earlier turbo normalized (TAT) stats from Matt Bergwall, Cirrus Aircraft.

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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” (4-adult) 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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High Performance Piston Single-Engine Market Share 2013

What’s the market share among high performance piston single-engine airplanes? Last year, GAMA reported 831 piston single-engine planes shipped which included tail wheel and light sport aircraft. From that 831 total,  Continue reading “High Performance Piston Single-Engine Market Share 2013”

Cirrus Aircraft Shipments 2013

How many airplanes has Cirrus Aircraft manufactured? Cirrus Aircraft has shipped a total of 5,600 airplanes.  In 2013, Cirrus shipped 276 airplanes which was a 9.1% increase over the prior year.  Yet deliveries are still running half pre-recession levels. Continue reading “Cirrus Aircraft Shipments 2013”