To mark Hawker Beechcraft's 80thanniversary, the company invited aircraft owners to bring their machines to its Europe and Middle East headquarters at Hawarden Airport, Broughton in England's north-west, last Friday (7 September).
The company's press-release about the event contained a claim which, if it is accurate, is remarkable: "Two thirds of all manufactured Hawker Beechcraft aircraft are still in operation today, underlining why it is such a popular choice amongst corporate and private owners alike."
Think cars for a moment. No long-established car manufacturer could make a claim like that.
Here's a challenge: think of any consumer durable, vehicle or any other product of which a manufacturer that has been in business more than 80 years could say that 66% of all the devices they ever manufactured are still in use. Then reply to this blog entry and tell us.
I suspect the other long-established manufacturers of GA aircraft like Cessna and Piper may be able to make claims that are at least similar. A glance at parked aeroplanes on the pan at any small airfield tells you that aircraft owners don't throw their craft away when they reach 10, 20, or even 30 years old.
It's impressive in a way, but a bit sad too, especially for the manufacturers of new aeroplanes. Is the average age of GA pilots, especially active leisure and sport pilots, on an upward trend too? Maybe I'd better find out.