Piston Airplane, Helo Shipments Jump In First Quarter

A Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop.
A Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop.
Credit: Bill Carey

Shipments of piston-engine and turboprop airplanes increased in the first quarter when compared to last year while business jet shipments remained flat, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) said May 25.

Releasing its first-quarter Aircraft Shipments and Billings Report, GAMA said shipments of airplane types combined increased to 528 units this year from 495 units in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 33 airplanes, or 6.7%. Billings across all types, however, decreased by 3.5% during the quarter to $3.7 billion.

The piston aviation segment jumped to 294 shipments in the first quarter from 267 last year (+10.1%) and turboprop shipments increased to 117 units from 110 (+6.4%). Business jet shipments declined to 117 from 118.

Shipments of rotary-wing aircraft showed robust growth to 209 total helicopters from 140 at this time last year, a 49.3% increase. Shipments of turbine helicopters led the trend, increasing to 153 units from 100 in 2022 (+53%). Shipments of piston-engine helicopters increased to 56 units from 40 (+40%). The value of helicopter billings during the quarter was $0.8 billion, a nearly 60% increase over last year.

“The continued health of the general aviation manufacturing industry is encouraging, particularly in light of persistent supply chain, workforce and North American regulatory process challenges,” GAMA said. “Our manufacturers are focused on meeting this thriving product demand with new aircraft which incorporate advanced technologies that further enhance safety and fuel performance.”

Bill Carey

Based in Washington, D.C., Bill covers business aviation and advanced air mobility for Aviation Week Network. A former newspaper reporter, he has also covered the airline industry, military aviation, commercial space and unmanned aircraft systems. He is the author of 'Enter The Drones, The FAA and UAVs in America,' published in 2016.