Airplane makers and avionics installers have reported strong first-quarter sales, marking increases in nearly every category but rotorcraft.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association released data May 17 showing increases in all fixed-wing categories, including a 24-percent increase in piston airplane sales, from 200 aircraft shipped in the first quarter of 2018 up to 248 piston airplanes shipped in the first quarter this year.
Rotorcraft sales declined in all segments, down 14.3 percent for pistons with a 22.4-percent decline in turbine rotorcraft shipments. Rotorcraft billings declined 15 percent overall.
“While our rotorcraft segment experienced some headwinds, our airplane segment remains strong,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce in a news release. “Statements by our member companies point to solid order intakes during the first quarter, laying down a positive marker for later in 2019.”
The Aircraft Electronics Association recently reported a double-digit increase in first-quarter sales by avionics manufacturers and installers, up 13.2 percent to $724 million for the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2018. Retrofits represent 53.6 percent of that total.
“While it is likely that ADS-B installations in the United States are a contributing factor to the increase in year-over-year sales as we get closer to the FAA's equipage deadline, those are fairly straight-forward installations," said AEA President and CEO Mike Adamson in a news release.
"Our member repair stations report that they are also doing an increasing number of full-panel retrofits. Installations of new electronic flight displays, digital autopilots, engine monitor systems, in-flight connectivity and other technologies are keeping the shops extremely busy, and the ongoing work has helped drive an increase in year-over-year sales for nine-straight quarters."