When the General Aviation Manufacturers Association released production figures last week, what first might have looked like bad news for piston manufacturers, turns out to be rosier than it might have seemed. The bad news: Total first-half shipments for piston singles and twins were down 15.7 percent compared with last year's first-half numbers. But the good news is that second-quarter figures were up almost across the board compared with the miserable first quarter of 2008-in many cases more than doubling. For example, Cirrus delivered 163 airplanes between April and the end of June, compared with 76 for January through March. Billings increased to $82 million from $35 million. Piper's numbers (which include one turboprop model, the Meridian) increased to 75 aircraft delivered ($59.6 million) from 43 aircraft ($33.2 million) in the first quarter. All of Cessna's piston singles posted increased delivery rates in the second quarter, led by the Skyhawk (41 in Q1-83 in Q2) and the Skylane (37 in Q1-72 in Q2). Jets increased to 366 deliveries in Q2 compared with 297 in Q1 (up 23 percent). Pistons increased to 635 deliveries from 399 (up 59 percent). Turboprops also posted impressive gains-up 61 percent to 137 deliveries from 85 in the first three months of this year.