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According to GAMA’s recent Q1 2018 Aircraft Shipment Report, in the fixed-wing piston market - like the jet segment - things look flat so far in 2018. Mike Potts delves into the numbers to take a closer look…


This year’s Q1 total of 200 piston shipments trails last year’s Q1 total of 203 by 1.5%. Looking at just the single-engine portion of the market, however, Q1 2018 was down by 7.95% from last year (162 units compared with 176 in Q1 2017).

The Single Piston Market

Of 14 single-engine piston OEMs listed in the GAMA report, three had gains, seven had losses, three were even (while one failed to report).

When you look at the piston single-engine market it is quickly apparent that there is Cirrus and then there’s everybody else. Cirrus led the market with 74 deliveries, up from 57 last year (an increase of more than 29.82%). Evidently Cirrus is doing just fine.

After that, however, the story rapidly becomes much less pretty…

Trailing way back in second place is Textron’s Cessna unit, with 21 deliveries (down from 41 in Q1 2017). The days of Cessna even coming close to challenging Cirrus for leadership in the single engine piston category look long gone.

Third place in piston-single deliveries goes to Piper, which is gaining ground lately and might soon challenge Cessna for second place in the market.

Piper delivered 19 airplanes in Q1 2018, up from 17 a year ago.

Italian OEM Tecnam captured fourth spot with 15 units for Q1 2018, down from 19 in Q1 2017 when Tecnam came third behind Cirrus and Cessna. Diamond was fifth with 11 deliveries, matching its Q1 2017 total.

All of the other piston OEMs delivered fewer than 10 units each for the quarter.

The Twin Piston Market

News in the twin segment is significantly better, with four OEMs reporting. Three showed gains over the year before, and overall twin piston deliveries totaled 38 in Q1 2018, compared with 27 in Q1 2017. That’s a gain of more than 40.74%, making it the strongest performing segment in the Q1 2018 GAMA report.

Leading the twin market was Diamond with 20 deliveries, doubling the 10 it made in Q1 2017. In second place was Tecnam with 12, up 50% from the eight reported in Q1 2017. Piper shipped five units, up from four a year ago, while Textron’s Beechcraft unit trailed with just one shipment, down from five a year ago.

In Summary

Although the overall picture is of a flat market, we are hopeful that this will be the last year when we have to use the ‘flat’ to describe the continuing state of the market.

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Read more about: New Piston Aircraft | Single Piston Aircraft | Twin Piston Aircraft | Piston Market Analysis | GAMA

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