No Slump Noted in Aircraft Refurb Industry

Soft sales in new aircraft lead to opportunities.

Beechcraft Xtra
Beechcraft Xtra

With sales of new aircraft gone sour, the light aircraft refurb industry finds itself in a bit of a sweet spot. At AOPA Summit, for example, Todd Peterson of Peterson’s Performance Plus reported he cannot keep up with demand for his Cessna 182 Skylane upgrade.

The “King Katmai” conversion includes upgraded engines (260-hp or 300-hp), tundra tires, wingtip extensions and canard surfaces for enhanced short- and rough-field performance. He currently has seven ground-up conversion airframes under construction at his shop in El Dorado, Kansas.

Meanwhile, Hawker Beechcraft has re-invigorated its Xtra program to upgrade Bonanzas. It encompasses all Bonanza models from -35 V-tails, -33 straight-tails, through the -36 Series. Available options on the factory demonstrator -36 include: Garmin G500 retrofit glass panel avionics and GTN750 touchscreen navigator; 300-hp Continental IO-550 engine upgrade; Hartzell Scimitar prop; D'Shannon 40-gallon tip tanks (with gross-weight increase to 3,833 pounds); and the Cabin Comfort Plus environmental control – an automotive-style set-and-forget temperature control that mixes heat and air conditioning to maintain the desired levels. It also saves 40 pounds compared with factory air conditioning and eliminates the belly scoop for a net increase of three to five knots. Accessory packages from the Beech factory range from $10,000 to $100,000 and carry factory warranties.