The General Aviation Manufacturers Association released a report on aircraft shipments in the first quarter of 2018 that noted increased overall deliveries from 2017’s first quarter, “but with some mixed results within the types.”
Airplane and rotorcraft billings both bounced back from first-quarter declines a year ago.
Turboprops led airplane deliveries, growing by 12.7 percent.
Business jet deliveries rose from 130 to 132 airplanes. Piston airplane deliveries experienced a three-unit decline from 203 in the first quarter of 2017 to 200 this year. Total billings for airplanes in the first quarter amounted to $3.8 billion, up from $3.55 billion in the first quarter of 2017.
“We are pleased to see the industry is, overall, trending positively,” said GAMA President Pete Bunce. “Training needs are driving the demands in the rotorcraft segment, while a stabilizing used market, overall global economic growth and aviation innovation are driving the other segment increases. We expect the introduction of new products to drive future growth, which underscores just how important it is for the U.S. Congress to pass a long-term FAA Reauthorization bill and the executive branch to carefully implement trade policies, to avoid adversely affecting industry growth in future quarters—something our member companies conveyed directly to members of Congress this week during GAMA’s annual Hill Day.”
Notable in the helicopter space, Robinson Helicopters shipped 88 aircraft, of which 56 were R44 piston models; 18 R66 turbine helicopters; and 14 piston-powered R22s.
The 25 Bell 505 Jet Rangers and 18 Bell 407 utility helicopters delivered accounted for all but three of Bell Helicopters’ quarterly shipments.
Highlights of the quarter’s delivery data also included Cirrus Aircraft, which shipped 84 airplanes consisting of 74 single-engine models and 10 SF50 Vision single-engine jets.
The 34 aircraft delivered to buyers by Piper Aircraft consisted of a variety of single-and twin-engine models, with 16 PA–28-181 Archer III singles leading the list.
Of the 45 airplanes shipped by Italy’s Tecnam, 18 were ASTM-LSA singles; the company also reported deliveries of 12 P2006T twins.
The leading Cessna products delivered by Textron Aviation included 13 CE-172S Skyhawk SP singles; 10 CE-208B Grand Caravan EX single-engine turboprops; and 12 CE-680A Citation Latitude jets.
Several recent regulatory and legislative developments will be watched closely for their impact on future aircraft manufacturing. In August 2017, the long-advocated overhaul of Part 23 certification rules for GA aircraft took effect, a move seen by the industry as opening new pathways to allowing the use of streamlined manufacturing methods and introduction of technological advances. On April 27, the House of Representatives passed a five-year FAA reauthorization bill. On May 11, the FAA published a notice that it had accepted a set of industry-consensus standards for aircraft manufacturing—a step AOPA welcomed as a pivotal move to set last year’s Part 23 reforms in motion.