By Nadav Eiron, ANN correspondent
We sure are enjoying Oshkosh this year. The show is fun, and
even the weather is as good as it gets. The crowds seem to be quite
happy too. However, some of the people are out here to make money
by selling airplanes.
So, how has the show been for them?
At least those we talked to think it has been good. Actually,
make it great! While responses on attendance were somewhat mixed,
one thing was common to all manufacturers we talked to: they saw
real interest in their products, and it seems like people are much
more serious about buying new airplanes.
We've done an informal survey of some of the GA airframe
manufacturers. Results are in, and here they are, in alphabetical
- Cessna - Bob Stangarone, Cessna's VP of
communication, had only good words to say about the show. While he
expected a grass roots show like AirVenture to build interest in
Cessna's single engine piston line, he was pleasantly surprised to
see interest in Cessna's higher-end offerings: the Caravan and the
Cessna actually sold seven Caravans during the
show, and reports the interest in the Citations (the Mustang, CJ1
and CJ3 were at the show) to be very high. 2005 is the first year
in which Adam, Eclipse and Cessna all had their VLJ's fly into
Oshkosh, and sounds like people have been watching. The SE engine
line also generated healthy interest, with G1000 equipped planes
making up the vast majority of new orders. Bob also has a very
optimistic outlook for the rest of the year, citing an estimate of
900 single engine deliveries and 150 jet deliveries by year
- Cirrus - Kate Dougherty, of Cirrus PR, had
only good things to say about the show.
While not giving out any firm numbers on sales or leads (at
least yet) she says that traffic through the company's display has
been high, and all demo flights have been fully booked throughout
the length of the show. Sales were "beyond all expectations" and
leads were very strong. Overall she is, too, very optimistic about
the rest of the year.
- Columbia - Randy Schuette, a sales rep for the
Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation, was also very cheerful
when asked about the show. Eleven Columbia 350 and 400 planes were
sold during the show so far, and interest has been very high.
Randy says that while overall attendance, at least as far as he
can see from Columbia's display area, may be somewhat lower than
what it was a year ago, serious inquiries are up. Sounds like there
are fewer tire kickers and more people actually looking for a new
slick airplane. Columbia sees, over all, interest split roughly
evenly between the 350 and the turbo charged 400 models. Barring
any "major catastrophe" (and, luckily for Columbia, there aren't
any hurricanes in Oregon) Randy foresees this year as being a great
one for Columbia, and for GA in general.
- Mooney - Mooney's director of domestic sales,
Rick Neeley, reported "great traffic" through Mooney's
In addition to many active high quality leads he could report
one sales contract actually signed on the show's grounds. Mooney is
expecting "numerous sales" to come out of leads from the show, and
is overall very pleased with interest in its products.
- Piper - Jeff Krell, Manager of Worldwide Sales
and Rorie Ainbinder, a marketing team leader for Piper tell a story
that is somewhat similar to Columbia's.
While the overall attendance appears to have been weaker than
last year, the balance between tire kickers and airplane buyers has
shifted. More of the people who make inquiries turn out to be
promising sales leads, and more leads turn into actual sales.
Overall, Piper echoed the overall sentiment of optimism about the
future of GA, particularly for new aircraft manufacturers.