One Man’s Crystal Ball Sees Pistons Leading the Charge

Brian Foley of Brian Foley & Associates, Sparta, New Jersey, believes that sales of piston aircraft will lead the next GA comeback; and it's already started. Foley contends that piston-aircraft buyers march to different market beats than jet or turboprop customers. For example, he cites the immediate post 9/11 period when sales of pistons dropped by only 2 percent when sales of jets and turboprops fell off by 14 percent and 34 percent respectively. He does call the piston market "more price-elastic" as in the period beginning in 2007 when sales of pistons began dropping off while turbines continued to spool up. Foley attributes the contrast to high fuel prices, imploding personal financial portfolios and the shrinking credit market that had more direct effects on buyers of personal aircraft. Foley looks to the summer for a fuller rebound of piston aircraft sales (based on pent-up demand, among other factors), as much as a double-digit percentage increase from last year's admittedly depressed numbers. And he expects the trend to continue "at least a couple of years."

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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