2:15 PM

Lots to Celebrate
at Airventure 2006!

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) recently announced that manufacturers have recorded the highest first quarter billings in history. Their press release shows some great news for GA:

Billings for the industry totaled $4.0 billion, an increase of 39.7 percent compared to 2.9 billion in for the first quarter of 2005. Shipments for the first three months of 2006 totaled 845, a 34.1 percent increase over the 630 airplanes shipped in the first three months of 2005.
Piston-engine aircraft shipments totaled 597 units compared to 434 units delivered in the first quarter of 2005, a 37.6 percent increase. Turboprop shipments increased from 57 units last year to 59 units this year. Business jet shipments were 189 in the first quarter of 2006, a remarkable 36.0 percent increase from the 139 units delivered in the first quarter of 2005.

Smiling on the report of this news is Pete Bunce, GAMA's President and CEO, who can’t help but to feel optimistic:
"Based on the encouraging market activity throughout the industry in this first quarter, and the exciting new technologies and products on the horizon, it is hard to not get excited about the future of general aviation."
So just what IS general aviation anyway?

GAMA defines GA as “all aviation other than scheduled commercial airlines and military aviation. GA is one of our nation's most important and dynamic industries, carrying 166 million passengers annually on general aviation aircraft including helicopters, single-engine piston airplanes, mid-size turboprops, and large intercontinental business jets capable of flying non-stop from New York to Tokyo. General aviation is relied on exclusively by more than 5,000 communities for their air transportation needs (scheduled airlines serve about 500). Nearly 70 percent of the hours flown by general aviation are for business purposes".

Those are points to remember the next time someone asks why we bother to fly those little airplanes. Just tell them GA is used for such important chores as emergency medical evacuation, firefighting, law enforcement, border patrols, search and rescue, traffic reports, weather reporting & storm tracking.

The GAMA web site is well worth a visit. For media wonks and wonkettes, better stop first at the Media Guide, before reading the Manufacturer Profiles, the Industry Facts and Figures, or the GA FAQs.

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