There is no question the market for new airplanes has recovered after a decade in which manufacturers hoped just to put behind them the decimating downturn that hit in 2008. Before the Great Recession, the market for business jets was red hot and sales of piston singles and turboprops were looking up as well. As economic storm clouds began to gather in early 2008, many industry insiders admitted a downturn was likely, but most predicted it would be a soft landing. After the economic carnage wrought in late 2008, aircraft manufacturers knew those hopeful predictions were wrong. A crash landing was what the industry experienced instead.
Ever since then, prognosticators have been predicting a turnaround in the market was just around the corner. Next year became the standard answer whenever anybody asked the CEO of an aircraft manufacturer when sales might again be marked by the robustness that had been seen before the last downturn.
CEOs are still saying to expect a full turnaround next year, but now they have real sales data to back up their predictions. According to the latest sales and delivery figures released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, production numbers across nearly every category rose last year.
New certifications over the last two years, especially in the lighter jet segments, as well as demand in North America are driving the business jet shipment increases. Shipment numbers increased about 5 percent for piston and turboprop airplanes, while bizjet deliveries saw an increase of nearly 4 percent. However, total airplane billings increased by only 1.5 percent, for a total of $20.6 billion for the 2,443 airplanes delivered for the year. The piston market had a particularly good year with 1,139 airplanes delivered, the largest number of piston products delivered since 2008.
A common lament among buyers of piston singles is that new airplanes cost too much. That certainly can be said for high-performance models like the Cirrus SR22, a special edition version of which is selling right now for more than $1 million. But you don't have to look very far down market to find some attractive pricing on new airplanes. If you can do with a light sport aircraft, the Vashon Ranger carries a base price of right around $100,000. For something IFR-capable, a new Diamond DA40 can be had for under $500,000.
On the following pages are full specs and prices for 100 new general and business aviation aircraft models, from VFR-only Part 23 piston singles to globe-girding business jets. Happy hunting.