Demand from flight schools helps boost production

Delta Connection Academy, a leading US flight school, has begun taking delivery of 50 Cirrus SR20s. The handover, announced at the AOPA Expo in Palm Springs, California on 9 November, coincides with the delivery of its 3,000th aircraft since Cirrus began production in 1999. Cessna, meanwhile, has delivered its 7,000th aircraft since restarting piston-single production in 1996.

Flight schools re-equipping with technically advanced aircraft are partly responsible for strong sales that are boosting production at Cessna and Cirrus, as well as Diamond Aircraft, which said at the show it had booked an order from Belgium's Sabena Airline Training Centre for six DA20-C1s, four DA40s and three DA42 Twin Stars.

The glass-cockpit SR20 provides "a realistic, airline-style flight training environment", says Capt Gary Beck, president and chief executive of Delta Connection Academy, the training subsidiary of US carrier Delta Air Lines. Flight Training Services International, UND Aerospace and Western Michigan University are among US training providers flying SR20s.

International sales have jumped from 4% to 24% in four years, says John Bingham, Cirrus executive vice-president for sales and marketing. The company will open a sales office in Chile within weeks to exploit the burgeoning South American market, he says. Cirrus, meanwhile, has certificated a turbo-normalised SR22.

Garmin's new GFC 700 auto-pilot has received US approval for installation on Cessna's 182 and 206 light aircraft as well as on Mooney's Acclaim, Ovation2 GX and Ovation3 piston singles.

Source: Flight International