Blackhawk Sees Growth in Turboprop Refurb Market

Jon Whittle

Blackhawk Modifications has had a strong year so far as the market for refurbished turboprops appears to be growing by leaps and bounds. Bob Kromer, Blackhawk's senior vice president of marketing, sales and customer support, said an increasing number of owners are either considering an engine upgrade to improve performance or desire a full upgrade of engines, aerodynamic mods, avionics, paint and interior. A strong foreign market for refurbished aircraft and an increase in the availability of financing have also contributed to the growth.

"At Blackhawk, we see this reflected in a projected growth rate of new engine upgrades of 10 percent this year over 2013 and another 10 to 12 percent expected in 2015 over 2014," Kromer said. "Growth rates like these seem rare in our industry today."

Blackhawk offers performance upgrades through supplemental type certificates (STCs) for the King Air 90 and 200 series; Cessna Caravan, Grand Caravan and Conquest; and Piper Cheyenne. "Blackhawk's new engine upgrade customers enjoy much stronger climb performance and cruise speed increases of 20 knots or more once there," said Jim Allmon, Blackhawk's president and CEO.

While Blackhawk and its dealers have seen strong growth, the market for new turboprops also remains strong. The number of turboprops shipped in 2013 increased by more than 10 percent over 2012, as reported by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. With such strong growth last year, a slight drop of just over 1 percent in the first half of 2014 is likely not a sign of a weakening market.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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