GA Economic Impact Factoid

According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers, report on GA economic impact, “At the national level, each direct job in general aviation supported 3.3 jobs elsewhere in the economy.” Nationwide 273,500 full and part-time workers were directly employed in general aviation in 2018. In total, GA’s direct employment supported 1.2 million jobs and $247 billion in economic output. About a 3.3 to 1 ratio.

Economic activities by pilots also have direct, indirect, induced and enabled impacts among related businesses in the economy. It’s an hypothesis that the related business to pilot ratio is similar to that found in the PWC report (3.3 to 1). Therefore, the number of related businesses to pilots would be greater than 1 to 1. There are 633,000 pilots registered with the FAA.

Reference: PricewaterhouseCoopers, “Contribution of General Aviation to the U.S. Economy in 2018,” GAMA’s State of the Industry Press Conference, February 19, 2020.

Year over Year Change in Piston Single-Engine Shipments

Here’s a summary based on General Aviation Manufacturers Association Annual Report for piston single-engine shipments.

Summary GAMA Annual Reports Piston Single-Engine Shipments

Description20182019Variance% Change
Cirrus SR22T, SR22, SR20380375-5-1%
Piper Archer & Arrow1141826860%
Piper Malibu M350202115%
Cessna Skyhawk & Skylane160159-1-1%
Cessna Turbo Stationair3237516%
Cessna TTx10-1-100%
Diamond DA404512681180%
Beachcraft A/G36157-8-53%
Mooney Ovation & Acclaim149-5-36%
Sub Total78191613517%
LSA & Other13514164%
Total Single-Engine Piston9541,11115716%

Notes: Piper did not deliver any Arrow airplanes in 2019.

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It is alive! Cirrus Turbo Comes of Age

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.


  Cirrus Piper Cessna Mooney Columbia    
Year SR22 Turbo *P46 M350 T206 M20TN Cessna TTx Other Total
2019             200              21        37           7                –        –       265
2018             180              20        32           3                 1      –       236
2017             174                9        40           3               23      –       249
2016             149              26        36           6               31      –       248
2015             142              36        51          –                 44      –       273
2014             160              48        43           1               22      –       274
2013             132              58        37          –                 21      –       248
2012               88              61        40          –                  –        –       189
2011             102              50        53          –                   1      –       206
2010             107              49        42           2                 7      –       207
2009             150              40        46         15               41      –       292
2008             250            122        95         44             110     12     633
2007             300              30      111         58             119     39     657
Total          2,134            570      663       139             420     51  3,977

Notes: Stats per GAMA year-end shipment reports.  SR22TN Tornado Alley TurboNormalized STC shipment stats provided by Cirrus Aircraft, Matt Bergwall. Piper P46 includes turbo Matrix, Malibu & M350 historic shipments. Cessna TTx and Columbia turbo historic shipments are combined. 

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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,”, 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,, circa April, 2014  

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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: 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

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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The GAMA 2019 State of the Industry press conference is next week

GAMA Chairman and Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. President Mark Burns and GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce will present the GAMA 2019 State of the Industry press conference on Wednesday February 20, 2019. They will also unveil the 2018 year-end aircraft shipment and billings numbers and discuss industry priorities for the year ahead.

We’ll summarize the general aviation shipments for piston engine planes, single prop turbines and light jets in future posts.

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”