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Some Aircraft Sales Climb While Others Dive

by John M. White |

We live in a strange new world. While the politicians battle with each other about fossil fuels the world goes on. Consumers are turning from gas guzzling trucks to hybrid cars and aviators abandon the smaller gas powered general aviation aircraft like Mooney's while owner/pilots with their own businesses and good incomes are scooping up turboprops and small turbojets as fast as they can. I live in Michigan, and today another announcement of a major decline in auto sales was made. Economic uncertainty and high avfuel costs are driving down piston powered aircraft sales - as demonstrated by a 28% drop in the first quarter of this year. As an example Mooney Airplane Company announces on Monday that it is slowing down production and laying off up to 80 employees. Mooney will reduce production from 8 aircraft a month to 5 aircraft per month. On the other hand the weak dollar has increased demand for these aircraft overseas. In the middle section of the market, the $ 1,000,000 to $ 3,000,000 turboprops and turbojets continue to sell at a hot pace. In Bend, OR aircraft manufacturer Epic Aircraft caters to high net-worth customers who want to get from point A to point B in their own private turboprop or turbojet. Cessna Aircraft acquired the Columbia aircraft from Lancair and has targeted its high-performance single-engine aircraft at entrepreneurs, small business owners and some high-end flight schools. Business is brisk, and Cessna continues to hire with employment in excess of 400 and a goal of 150 aircraft off the assembly line by the end of 2008. In the meantime Cessna jets remain in high demand, and the high-end bizjet market is looking to build a super sonic bizjet soon. The owners of these aircraft are probably not affected by the changes taking place in the economy, and that accounts for the fact that most of the larger bizjet manufacturers have backlogs going out for years to come. Amidst all of this comes the announcement that a "wingless flight" aircraft is on the horizon. The inventor applied for a patent on the aircraft last week, and if it is successful it will be truly Flyingsaucer revolutionary. It will be powered by magnetohydrodynamics which is created when a current or a magnetic field is passed through a fluid. This unique aircraft would have no moving parts, and the inventor hopes to build a 6" prototype powered by on board batteries soon. What a world we live in, eh?  Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7

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