Cessna takes commanding lead in LSA market

The LSA Market Share numbers are complete for 2011 and we offer them below.

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Moving on, we present our standard market share numbers. Our original chart remains consistent, illustrating the “installed base,” or “fleet size.” However, we know many of you want current-year information and therefore we present our first Calendar Year chart.

No question about it: Cessna easily won the 2011 race with 134 registrations, the most ever in one year for one company and 48% of all registrations for the year. Flight Design achieved nearly this number for two years running (109 and 103 in 2006 and 2007). Even Cessna can’t yet match that. Experts and former Cessna people wonder how many of the 1,000 original Skycatcher deposits could be returned after a dramatic 30% price increase, but that takes nothing away from the Wichita giant’s performance at delivering aircraft, slowly in 2009, accelerating in 2010, and zooming upward in 2011.

The second biggest story in 2011 registration performance is CubCrafters. Its 36 new registrations vaulted the company into the number two spot in overall fleet, while Cessna and the SportCruiser are tied in third. Last year deliveries were good enough for second in 2011, yet CubCrafters has a solid record of adding to its fleet (15-51-19-24-39-36 in 2006 thru 2011). Cessna didn’t start delivering until 2009.

In third and fourth place for 2011 are perennial leader Flight Design, which remains convincingly atop the overall fleet, and the SportCruiser. The SportCruiser importer, US Sport Aircraft, has done well to carry on after Piper left the LSA scene. Both Flight Design and US Sport Aircraft have strong customer support programs that help account for their success.

Another interesting accomplishment are the twin (but different) companies of Jabiru USA and Arion, which tied for 2011 registrations. Jabiru is one of our Big Eight, with more than 100 aircraft in the fleet (though Evektor is nearly ready to make it Big Nine). Arion is all-U.S. design and manufacture and has been steadily adding SLSA to a respectable fleet of kit-built LS-1s.

Some solid producers, including American Legend, Tecnam, and Remos, had a slow year in 2011, but reported sales at Sebring 2012 in response to new models and programs from each company.

It’s little surprise to see Aerotrek in the #5 spot for 2011 and #12 overall. The company has one of the best price points among SLSA and an impressively built, folding wing aircraft available in tailwheel or trigear.

In the Up-and-Comers Department, I suggest keeping an eye on American producers Allegro, World Aircraft, and Progressive Aerodyne, whose SeaRey graces the cover of this issue, plus European builders Pipistrel and Fk Lightplanes. Finally, SportairUSA has the broadest selection of SLSA plus the coolest options worth a closer look.

Note: As always, we observe that all numbers are derived from the FAA’s N-number registration database. These figures are not identical to sales logged by the companies. Also, a sincere thank you goes to Jan Fridrich of the Czech Light Aircraft Association for his work on the LSA Market Share report. Jan is also head of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) Europe and a tireless worker for the advancement of Light-Sport aviation. He invests many hours to analyze data for each report.

For more on Sport Pilot and LSAs: ByDanJohnson.com



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