• Piper's M600 SETP saw a 19% growth in deliveries in 2018. (Steve Hitchen)
    Piper's M600 SETP saw a 19% growth in deliveries in 2018. (Steve Hitchen)
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Piper Aircraft deliveries grew by 47% in 2018, the largest growth recorded by any of the general aviation aircraft manufacturers.

The 2018 results released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) today, showed an overall increase in shipments of 5%, with growth in all sectors for the first time since 2013, which GAMA attributs to new certifications, particularly in the business jet sector.

Cirrus booked a 17% increase and Tecnam a modest 5%, whilst Cessna and Diamond both contracted by 3% against the delivery figures for 2017.

Piper's resurgency can be attributed to flying academy sales of the Archer range, of which the company shipped 107 airframes in 2018 compared to the 72 over the previous calendar year. The twin-engined Seminole trainer also gained significant ground in the market, with shipments up 118%. Demand for the M350 also rose, with 20 shipments booked against only nine for 2017.

Vero Beach's traditional rivals, Cessna, still outshone Piper, but the C172SP flatlined in 2018, with the 129 Skyhawks shipped matching the 2017 returns. Softer demand for the C182T Skylane (-33%) and T206H (-20%) contributed to the gap between Cessna and Piper closing.

The mantle of king of GA still remains with Cirrus. The Duluth-based manufacturer delivered a total of 443 aircraft in 2018, a good result over the 377 of 2017. Their best-selling SR22 and SR22T together are the market leaders by a long way, but demand increased by a modest 2%. Support in the Cirrus group came from a revitalised SR20, which saw a 41% increase in deliveries, attributed most likely to the introduction of the 215-hp IO-390 engine.

Cirrus also gained significant ground in the private jet market, with 63 SF50 Vision jets going out the door; the 186% increase the largest growth for any single model reported during 2018. The result has them almost nose-to-nose with the market-leading Embraer Phenom 100/300, which recorded 64 shipments for the year.

Diamond's twins are still holding their place in the market, with the DA42 up 39% and the DA62 up 9%. Offsetting that is a softer result for the DA40, which is down 25% on the 2017 numbers.

Textron's other brand, Beechcraft, continues to slog along in the piston sector, with a total of only 34 aircraft delivered for the 2018 year, made up of 15 Bonanzas and 19 Barons. Both have struggled in their respective classes for some years with deliveries lagging well behind their composite-construction competitors. Since 2013, Beechcraft has turned out 143 Bonanzas compared with Cirrus' 1567 SR22s, Piper's 197 Matrix/M350s and Cessna's 199 C182T. The latter aircraft was off the market for 2014.

The Baron has fared better since 2013 due to a lack of competiton. The 155 airframes that rolled out the door easily eclipsed it's nearest rival, Piper's Seneca V, of which 46 were produced for that period. However, Diamond's DA62, which has been on the market only since 2015, is Beechcraft's newest worry. The big diesel twin has found demand for 101 airframes and out-paced the Baron in sales in every year since 2016.

Textron is not above cutting under-performing aeroplanes, with the venerable C172R, Corvalis TTx and Citation Mustang disappearing from the books in the last few years. It would be very surprising if the futures of the classic Beech pistons were not under close scrutiny also.

Major Aircraft Shipments Q4 2018

Aircraft Q4 2018 Q4 2017 Change
Piper Warrior III 0 0 0%
Cessna C172SP 45 54 -17%
Piper Archer III 35 27 30%
Diamond DA40 14 14 0%
Cirrus SR20 10 12 -17%
Tecnam P2010 5 3 67%
       
Cessna C182T 11 21 -48%
Beech G36 Bonanza 7 4 75%
Cirrus SR22/T 108 107 1%
Cessna TTx 0 11 -100%
Piper M350/Matrix 7 4 75%
Mooney Ovation/Acclaim 5 3 67%
       
Beech G58 Baron 7 10 -30%
Piper Seminole 13 5 160%
Piper Seneca V 2 0 0%
Diamond DA42 14 9 56%
Tecnam P2006T 8 11 -27%
Diamond DA62 10 7 43%
       
Cessna Caravan Series 32 14 129%
Quest Kodiak 100 3 8 -63%
Pilatus PC12 29 32 -9%
Daher TBM 900/910/930 17 21 -19%
PAC 750XL 3 0 #DIV/0!
Piper Meridian/M500/M600 18 16 13%
       
Cessna Mustang & M2 12 14 -14%
Eclipse 550 0 1 -100%
Embraer Phenom 100 & 300 24 32 -25%
Honda HA420 16 13 23%
SF50 Vision 22 13 69%
Pilatus PC24 9 - -
       
Cessna T206H 12 12 0%
GippsAero Airvan 8 3 2 50%

 

Major Aircraft Shipments Year End 2018 verses Year End 2017

Aircraft 2018 2017 Change
Piper Warrior III 0 0 0%
Cessna C172SP 129 129 0%
Piper Archer III 107 72 49%
Diamond DA40 45 60 -25%
Cirrus SR20 65 46 41%
Tecnam P2010 20 18 11%
       
Cessna C182T 31 46 -33%
Beech G36 Bonanza 15 13 15%
Cirrus SR22/T 315 309 2%
Cessna TTx 0 23 -100%
Piper M350/Matrix 20 9 122%
Mooney Ovation/Acclaim 14 7 100%
       
Beech G58 Baron 19 23 -17%
Piper Seminole 37 17 118%
Piper Seneca V 2 1 100%
Diamond DA42 50 36 39%
Tecnam P2006T 41 39 5%
Diamond DA62 36 33 9%
       
Cessna Caravan Series 92 69 33%
Quest Kodiak 100 23 31 -26%
Pilatus PC12 80 85 -6%
Socata TBM 900/930 50 57 -12%
PAC 750XL 11 7 57%
Piper Meridian/M500/M600 56 47 19%
       
Cessna Mustang and M2 34 46 -26%
Eclipse 550 0 6 -100%
Embraer Phenom 100 & 300 64 72 -11%
Honda HA420 37 43 -14%
Cirrus SF50 Vision 63 22 186%
Pilatus PC24 18 - -
       
Cessna T206H 32 40 -20%
GippsAero Airvan 8 7 9 -22%
       

 

 

 

 

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