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Airline Management, Business Aviation, General Aviation, Other Aviation Issues

SUMMARY: The 2016 General Aviation turboprop deliveries and sales numbers are out from GAMA, and the turboprops were the only segment to record an increase in deliveries (+3.4%), as piston (-4.9%) and especially business jets (-7.9%) are down on 2015 numbers. With 576 turboprop aircraft delivered (and 675 engines, all PT6’s except 10 GE H80 engines) with a sales value of $US 2.057 billion (+8.6%), 2016 was a good year for 3 of the 4 segments (Agricultural, Single engine utility, Single engine pressurized) with Twin turboprop deliveries slightly down (-9.1%). In terms of units, the best segment was the Single engine pressurized with 179 deliveries led by Pilatus with 91 deliveries of its PC-12NG, but new competition is coming soon from Textron’s Denali and EPIC 1000. By sales, the best segment was the Twin Turboprop market, which is dominated by Textron’s King Air (C90/250/350) line with $793 million in sales. While not in GAMA figures, the 5 OEM’s still in the 19 passenger turboprop market, delivered +/- 35 aircraft worth $US 255 million. Lastly, the Agricultural aircraft market is still doing well, with 151 deliveries worth $198 million from crop spraying, fire fighting to actual counter insurgency (COIN) fighting, showing how versatile the turboprops really are today and why we see GE now challenging the P&W PT6 domination of the market for over 50 years.

READ: 2015 GA turboprop results, February 17, 2016 blog.


Another year has passed and time to do my annual turboprop review.

The 2016 GAMA shipment and billing numbers were not good for the industry, with overall billings down from $US 24.1 billion in 2015 to $US 20.7 billion, down 14.1% while unit deliveries were down to 2,241 aircraft over 2,331 units in 2015, down 3.9%.

The piston market was down 4.9% compared to 2015 to 1,004 deliveries while business jet deliveries were down 7.9% to 661 deliveries, with turboprops being the only bright spot, with deliveries by the 9 current OEM’s reporting to GAMA at 576 up 3.4% on 2015 and billings (sales) estimated by me at $US 2.057 billion, up 8.6% on 2015 sales of $US 1.894 billion.

There were 109 twin engine turboprops delivered (18.9% of deliveries) with sales of $793 million (38.5% of sales), and 467 single engine turboprops (81.1% of deliveries) and 1.264 billion in sales (61.5% of sales). Total number of engines delivered to the 9 OEMs would have been 675 in total, with 665 being PT6A engines (98.5% share), with only 10 GE H80 engines used on the Thrush S2R-H80 agricultural aircraft (1.5% share), BUT that is going to change as GE is looking to take on P&W, and has been chosen to power the new Textron Aviation’s Denali single engine pressurized aircraft that will take on the Pilatus PC-12NG.

(NOTE: The Billings from GAMA were used but where multi product line exists I used Business & Commercial Aviation Equipped Prices or OEM prices to get total Sales per product line )

The 9 OEM’s in the market had various levels of success, with Textron Aviation dominating the market once again, with its C208/C208B Caravan line (84 deliveries sales est. at $204.3 million) and its King Air line with 106 deliveries (11 x C90GTx, 32 x 250’s and 63 x 350’s) with sales est. at $770.9 million, for a combined 190 deliveries and sales est of $975.2 million.

Below pie Graph shows that Textron Aviation (USA) had 190 turboprop deliveries (106 King Air’s and 84 Caravans) for 33% market share by units delivered, while #2 went to Air Tractor (USA) with 112 deliveries of its agricultural aircraft for a 20% market share by delivery, and #3 went to Pilatus Aircraft (Switzerland) with 100 deliveries (91 PC-12NG’s and 9 PC-6 Turbo Porters) for a 17% market share by deliveries.

This contrasts very well with the 2 big losers in the market, Piaggio (based in Italy, owned by Abu Dhabi), which delivered just 3 x P.180 Avanti Evo’s, which struggles for orders, managing just 26 in the past 5 years, while New Zealand based Pacific Aerospace managed just 8 deliveries of its PAC 750StolX single engine utility, and only 35 in the past 5 years.

The turboprop market can be divided into 4 aircraft segments (Agricultural, single engine un-pressurized utility, single engine pressurized and twin pressurized), with the twin un-pressurized market of 18 passenger aircraft like Canada’s Viking Air’s DHC-6 Series 400 Twin Otter, RUAG’s Dornier 228NG, Czech Republic’s Aircraft Industries LET-410 and China’s AVIC Y-12E and F not reporting yet, though I do cover them at the end of the report, though total production by all 4 OEM’s at a very low +/- 35 units in 2016 with total sales at around $255 million, with Viking Air alone delivering 18 of that (50%), or around $135 million in sales.

The above graph shows the turboprop market breakdown by segment in terms of deliveries, and you can see that the most active market in unit terms is the single engine pressurized market, where Pilatus (Switzerland), Daher (France) and Piper Aircraft (USA) compete with their PC-12NG, TBM930 and M500/M600 , for the 179 deliveries in 2016, up 17.7% on 2015 deliveries, and no wonder Textron Aviation is entering this segment next year with its new Denali single engine TP.

The second ‘best’ market for TP deliveries is the agricultural market where 2 USA based OEM’s, Air Tractor and Thrush Aircraft competed for 151 deliveries, a very good success of this segment proving its value in global farming and slowly in providing cost efficient counter insurgency warfare capabilities (COIN).

In third, was the single engine utility market, the most contested segment where 4 OEM’s battled for 137 deliveries in 2016, down 4.1% on 2015 deliveries. This segment has Pacific Aerospace (New Zealand), Pilatus (Switzerland), Quest Aircraft (USA based, Japanese owned) and Textron Aviation (USA).

Lastly, the twin pressurized TP market, which has Textron Aviation dominating the segment with its legendary King Air line, delivering 106 of the 109 total deliveries (97.2% market share), as Piggio’s P.180 Avanti Evo continues to struggle selling its product.


In sales/billings, the Twin TP market had $US 793 million in sales (38.5% of all TP sales) on just 109 deliveries (18.9% of deliveries) as the King Air line goes from the $US 3.6 million C90GTx to the $8.4 million 350ER and Piaggio’s P.180 Avanti Evo goes for $7.4 million. Deliveries were down 9.1% and sales were down 2.7% on 2015, the only TP segment to record a downturn in 2016 in deliveries and sales. Average sales per unit is $US 7.2 million in this segment.

In close second was the Single engine pressurized market, which had an est. sales of $751 million (36.5% of all TP sales) on 179 deliveries (31% of total TP deliveries), 2016 sales were up 25.% and deliveries were up 17.7% on 2015. Average sales per unit is $US 4.2 million in this segment.

Third place went to the Single engine utility market with $315.5 million in sales (up 2.9% on 2015) while deliveries were down 4.1% on 2015. Average sales per unit is $US 2.3 million in this segment.

Lastly, the Agricultural market had sales of $198.3 million (+15.3%) on 151 deliveries (+6.3%). Average price per unit is $US 1.3 million in this segment.


AGRICULTURAL TURBOPROP MARKET (2 OEM’s, 151 deliveries up 9 aircraft and sales of $US 198.3 million up $US 26.3 million versus 2015)


Only 2 competitors, both American, with Air Tractor dominating with 112 deliveries (74% mkt share) and 137.9 million in est. sales (69.5% of total segment sales of $198.3 million). The big money maker for Air Tractor is its large AT-802 line of ag (802A) and fire fighting (AF) aircraft (Photo Above Left), which are priced at $US 1.9+ million each, and 51 were delivered in 2016 (+70% of sales) with a MTOW of 16,000 lbs, PT6A-65/67 powered with 800 USG hopper and 9,500 lbs useful loads. The other 61 deliveries were the smaller AT-402/502/602 models priced between $1.0 million to $1.3 million. The AT-802U militarized version (Photo Above Right) had no deliveries reported in 2016.

But 2017 is starting off well for Air Tractor, as the US has approved the sale of 12 x AT-802L counter insurgency aircraft plus 2 x AT504 trainers (2 seat) to Kenya, and its BIG money when dealing with military hardware as the deal is valued at $US 418 million, so around $34.5 million for each armed AT-802L (or around 18.6 times the purchase price of a ‘normal’ agricultural spraying AT-802), as prime contractor and integrator L3 Technologies is putting a lot of “work” into such small rugged aircraft, that is going to Kenya to kick some al-Shabaab mujahideen ‘ass’ in Somalia next door.

As a former young crop duster, never would I imagine such a mission for an Ag aircraft, but its needed and both Air Tractor and Thrush Aircraft (with its IOMAX Arcangel) are making big business from these massive 700-800 USG hopper turbine powered Ag aircraft going into battle, finally a cost “efficient” military use of aircraft in a new warfare that requires simplicity, ruggedness and survivability up close.

Check out the AT-802U and IOMAX Archangel brochures attached, these ain’t no Piper PA25-260 Pawnee I used to fly when I was 18-20 for a few bucks and lots of fun at 3 feet off the ground at 110 mph, no these things are just plain scary !

Both will compete for the OA-X light attack contract that the pits the AT-802L (now OA-8 Longsword with L3 technologies) and the Iomax Archangel against some tough competition like Embraer and Sierra Nevada with their A-29 Super Tucano and Textron with its AT-6 Wolverine and Scorpion light jet, plus many other competitors. It could be a 300+ aircraft acquisition in the end, and I think Air Tractor or Thrush Aircraft should have the advantage in light attack at low cost, good luck to both.

Check out:




Thrush Aircraft delivered 39 aircraft, with the 17 deliveries being its own militarized A2R-T660 version, the IOMAX Archangel, which competes with Air Tractor’s AT-802U, with a PT6A-67F engine, 180 kts, 6 hard points, tandem dual seating, +10 hour endurance, and is a low cost killing machine, and at $2.16+ million price (depending on options), it was in 2016 at least 61% of Thrush Aircraft’s sales of $US 60.4 million. The other products offered by Thrush is the S2R-H80, a GE H80 powered ag aircraft, only the second OEM at this time to offer that engine choice (after Aircraft Industries LET-410).

Check out:




SINGLE ENGINE UN-PRESSURIZED UTILITY TURBOPROP MARKET (4 OEM’s, 137 deliveries down 6 aircraft and sales of $US 315.5 million up $US 8.9 million versus 2015)

Textron Aviation (USA) is the ‘big elephant’ in this market with its Caravan line (13 x C208 and 71 x C208B delivered in 2016), 84 deliveries (61% of total segment) and with sales est. of $US 204.3 million (65% of total segment), it just dominates the other 3 OEM’s, and soon entering the Single engine pressurized TP market with its new Denali to take on the Pilatus PC-12NG.

Textron was down 17.6% on deliveries (18 aircraft) versus 2015 and sales were down around $US 22 million. Average price of Caravan is around $2.4 million today.

Quest Aircraft (USA based, Japanese owned), had another good year with 36 deliveries (up 11% or 4 units to 2015) of its Kodiak 100, for sales of $US 81.33 million (up 28.6% to 2015), which means an average of $2.25 million per unit, which is up 14.3% from 2015 average price, obviously they feel confident enough to raise prices. There is talk of a new aircraft, I always thought a bigger single engine STOL utility aircraft (12,500 lbs MTOW and +1,300 shp) as that is what many operators would like, but looks like the next product will be a pressurized utility aircraft according to ‘sources’, which put them into a very tough market with PC-12NG and the new Denali, plus TBM930 and M600. CEO Sam Hill has retired and the company is heading in a new direction, time will tell how this plays out, and that is now in the hands of new CEO Rob Wells, but lots of potential at Quest as it delivered its 200th unit in 2016, and looks to a new product in the next 3-4 years.

The early development of the Kodiak 100 grew from the need for a new-generation aircraft to serve both humanitarian mission and back-country commercial aviation needs. Funding the Kodiak 100 required an unusual step of raising the funds from 16 future humanitarian customers (e.g. Air Serv International, Mission Aviation Fellowship, Samaritan Aviation, etc.) who buy airplanes for relief and mission needs. The interesting pay back model was that these humanitarian organizations would get every 10th aircraft off the line as a return on their investment, which means by now at least 20 ‘free’ Kodiak 100’s have been delivered (worth about $40+ million) as a return on investment, very unique and I wonder if these organizations are driving the ‘pressurized’ aircraft (Kodiak 200 ?) for getting over bad weather and for flying in high elevation environments. Anyway, this will be interesting to watch.

Pilatus Aircraft (Switzerland), just keeps this 58 year old PC-6 Turbo Porter (originally Fairchild Aircraft in 1959) design going and going (, with 9 deliveries in 2016 (up 125% on the 4 delivered aircraft in 2015) of the $US 1.83 million utility aircraft and bringing total production of the 56 year old Turbo Porter to 598 by my count, and the last 5 years deliveries have been 32, a healthy number for an old dog, which had $16.5 million in est. sales in 2016 (up 117%), with China being a good customer these days, and surely a very good profit making product even with low production.

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Pacific Aerospace (New Zealand), has struggled with the PAC 750XStol for sometime now, yet its a great rugged STOL aircraft (developed from the rugged and solidly built PAC Cresco agricultural aircraft), but with 8 deliveries in 2016 and only 33 deliveries in the past 5 years and only 108+/- deliveries since foundation, the company is under performing in sales, as it is a very good product, and probably to many an unknown product, but worth a look.

The company had sales of $13.44 million with the 8 deliveries ($1.68 million per unit, a discount of 11.5% versus 2015 average price of $1.9 million, so lowering price to move the aircraft is in play, but profitability has to be elusive at best. I have seeing so much potential not  being realized in the PAC 750XStol, but also in the CT/4E and down the road the E350 (with a diesel engine).

The company has very good products, the PAC Cresco/Fletcher Ag aircraft (no longer offered), CT/4 Airtrainer the piston ab initio military trainer (no sales lately, good competitor to Grob) and just bought last year the  ex-Found Aircraft, FBA-2C3 Expedition E350 a 5 seat piston single (PHOTO Below Left), which has tremendous global potential but needs a diesel as sales outside of North America will be low due to the lack of Avgas around the world.

Check out:


1 XSTOL Multi Role (1) (1)

16-E-350 EXP Brochure-v11 (2) (1)

16-PA-CT4E-Air-Trainer-Flyer-v3_English1 (1) (2)

The company reported a order backlog of just 12 aircraft in October, 2016 and the future lies in a “hope” that its 50:50 JV with Beijing Automotive (Changzhou) to be known as Beijing Pan-Pacific Aerospace Technology (BPAT) will produce up to 100 PAC 750XStol and other aircraft per year ? “hope is not a strategy” I like to say, and the Chinese GA market potential is overblown, many programs have disappeared in what I call the “black hole” in China (read past Blogs on the many programs that Chinese companies have bought, and little if any have come out of the black hole for us to see and fly, the market is just not there in China for various reasons (lack of aviation culture, lack of airports, airspace, lack of VFR due to smog, etc. etc.).

If this is the role of the dice for PAC then we may not ever see the PAC750XStol, E350 or the robust CT-4E Airtrainer, as GA aircraft success in China is very rare and complicated, and we saw that when last September at North Korea’s first public Air Show ever.

When a PAC 750XStol was there painted in North Korean registration and flag (Photo Above Right), a real PR screw up, blamed on PAC’s Chinese dealer, but in the end PAC is responsible for the actions of its dealers, but yes North Korea could use the PAC750XStol to replace its 400+ AN-2/Y-5’s that are in service to fly special commandos low behind South Korean lines and create problems behind enemy lines, though being fabric covered with wooden props they are actually ‘stealth’ and very difficult to detect by modern radar according to USAF in Korea.

Anyway, PAC750XSTOL is a great aircraft but under performing, we shall see if the Chinese can turn things around for PAC, but when they can’t get its act together with its own products like the Y-12E. Y-12F, MA600, Caiga G300, ARJ-21, etc. and delays and failures to produce foreign General Aviation aircraft programs they bought in the past few years or manufacture for western OEM’s  (e.g. Cessna C-162, Schweizer, Xtreme, Brantly B2BMooney, Liberty/Discovery, Extra EA500, Tiger, Glasair, Reims C406,  etc. etc.) my feeling is this program will not achieve success with its Chinese JV, too many casualties already and not talked about enough, everyone sees China as a GA ‘gold rush’ but its fools gold out there.

Below is some interesting information on delivery history in this segment and then a relative comparison of the aircraft in this segment (NOTE: PAC 750XStol is best value per $) when compared with relative performance and relative cost, and should be doing much better in sales and all operators should take a good look, before buying a single engine utility.





SINGLE ENGINE PRESSURIZED TURBOPROP MARKET (3 OEM’s, 179 deliveries up 27 aircraft, and sales of $US 751.0 million up $US 150.9 million versus 2015)

Daher (France) delivered 54 TBMs (8 x TBM900’s and 46 x TBM930’s) for sales of $US 219.6 million, for an average price of $4.06 million per unit. The unit delivery is off by 1 aircraft compared to 2015 (55 deliveries) and sales are up 7.2% due to the higher price for the new TBM930. With 238 deliveries in the past 5 years the TBM has done well, averaging 47.6 deliveries per year as the OEM went from the TBM 850 to the TBM 900 and now the TBM 930 a 330kts speedster that attracts the owner pilots seeking speed, something the competition, including the new Textron Denali cannot match, and I don’t see any major decline in deliveries with the coming of the Denali.

The 800th TBM was delivered in September 2016, and by now deliveries must stand at around 830 units since production began in 1991. The history of the program began with Mooney Airplane Company of Kerrville, Tesxas in the early 1980’s with the new Mooney 301 pressurized piston single, which led to a French acquisition in 1985 and by mid-June 1987 TBM (TB stands for Tarbes, France the home of Socata and M for Mooney) to build a new single engine pressurized turboprop, the TBM 700.

The first flight was in mid 1988 and 2 production lines were planned, one in Kerrville, Texas for the North/South American market and the other in Tarbes, France for the rest of the world. Sadly for Mooney, it ran out of money in May 1991 and pulled out of the program, leaving the program in Socata’s hands, and in November, 2008, French aerostructures firm Daher bought 70% of Socata from EADS, with Socata at that time had 50% of its $362 million in revenue coming from its own aerostructures business and the other 50% from its Socata line of single engine piston aircraft (TB-9 Tampico, TB-10 Tobago and TB-20 Trinidad) and the TBM turboprop line. In 2006 the production of the TB line of piston aircraft was halted, but the TBM has continued with the 850 introduced in 2006 then the TBM 900 in 2014 and now the TBM 930 as of 2016.

The European Union’s approval of Commercial Air Transport operations for single-engine turboprop aircraft in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) and at night has been welcomed by Daher, whose TBM very fast turboprop family is increasingly utilized worldwide on such flights, which should increase demand for the TBM 930 and the PC-12NG in coming years from commercial operators.

Pilatus Aircraft (Switzerland) is a $US 1.0+ billion a year company, with civilian sales of its $US 4.88 million PC-12NG at $444.8 million in 2016 for the 91 aircraft it delivered, the highest since 2009, with past 5 year delivery of 354 PC-12’s (average 70.8 per year) and it dominates this segment with 51% of this market by deliveries and 59% by sales, and there is no slowing down for this hot selling aircraft that hit 1,400 deliveries in July, 2016 and now stands at around 1,450 units, a success by any standards and still going strong.

It will now face the Textron Aviation Denali in 2018, and by my calculation Textron is not coming to the market with a “better” product, but one that matches the PC-12NG and that has to be of great comfort to Pilatus, as it is now looking to its new jet, the PC-24, which I have not praised in my Blog, as I believe that Pilatus can’t shake the rugged short field mentality, as that is what they are marketing, but a $8+ million jet will not be used to fly into short, remote, unprepared airstrips, and contrary to Pilatus claims, it was NOT designed for that. Anyway, now Textron and Pilatus are big competitors as the PC-24 went into the Textron Citation market, and Textron is now entering the Pilatus PC-12 market, it will be interesting indeed.

READ: PC-24 Analysis my article of August 6, 2014

Piper Aircraft (USA based, owned by Brunei Ministry of Finance), delivered 34 turboprops in 2016 (12 x M500’s and 22 x M600’s) for a revenue of est. $86.6 million. The company has moved to the M600, which is really a M500 with a new cleaner wing with space for more fuel, same PT6A-42A engine and a better interior with a price of $2.9 million versus $1.99 million for the M500 ? for the extra $850,000 you get +14 kts cruise, +100 lbs of useful load, +484 nm (+90 USG), good deal ? customers are moving up for now, but surely the new wing will have to be mated to a bigger cabin to stay competitive as the M600/M500 today represent 57% of Piper Aircraft revenue, the piston line is old and tired but still pumping out 80 old legacy single pistons in 2016 (Warrior, Archer, Arrow, M350, Matrix), but for how long ?

Brunei wants to sell the company, it needs a major product revamp to stay competitive, will a buyer step forward ? with revenue of $150.1 million in 2016, it could be worth up to $100 million at best in my opinion.

Below is the delivery by year in this segment, notice 209 deliveries in 2008, as Textron surely hopes it can expand that market with its Denali, can both Pilatus and Textron deliver 90+ units per year ? and leave room for the TBM, Piper and possible Epic ? Does the M600 have a future ? it is the Piper PA-46-500TP Malibu Meridian from 2000, just re-packaged, re-branded to look new, and after 493 deliveries of the aircraft since 2003, it has done reasonably well averaging 35 deliveries per year in that time, with the best in 2007 when 53 were delivered.

The M600 was delayed due to a problem with its new larger wing design, apparently it kept breaking, but now that they have it, they will have to design a new aircraft around that wing to stay competitive, as Piper’s salvation today is the turboprop line, its “cash cow”, but will Brunei find a buyer ? it is the only GA brand that can be bought today, but you have to invest in new products for this company to stay in business, the product line is old, tired and outdated and new avionics and cabin refurbishment can stretch that product life cycle only so long in the declining stage.

Is the M600 good value ? at $2.9 million its $900,000 more (+46% more expensive) than the M500, same small cabin, same engine (PT6A-42), M600 max. cruise is 274 kts and M500 is 260 kts (+14 kts or 5.3%), a bigger new wing on M600 begs for a new cabin, but not now, but takes 260 USG versus 70 USG in M500, which means the big benefit of the M600 is the range with the extra fuel (1,484 nm versus 953 nm or +55% more).

It is the slowest of the 3 turboprops, and its why it sells the least, in the US market speed sells, so if you want good value and speed for your money, the twin engine jet CE-510 Mustand from Textron goes 339 kts and 1,141 nm for $3.35 million and the One Aircraft (ex-Eclipse) EA-500 does 369 kts and 1,254 nm for $2.99 million, if you want twin engine safety and speed, these may be good options, but hurry they are not selling well these days as the light jet market is still down and neither one may be in production by 2018 if things do not improve.

Check out:


16-piper_m600_brochure (1)




TWIN ENGINE PRESSURIZED TURBOPROP MARKET (2 OEM’s, 109 deliveries down 11 aircraft and sales of $US 793 million down $US 22.8 million versus 2015)


This is a non-contested segment that Textron Aviation has basically all to itself today with its King Air line, with only the Piaggio Aero P.180 Avanti Evo offering an alternative, but not a good one with 233+ deliveries since 1986 ? and only 15 deliveries in the past 5 years, its “walking dead” program, that looked to be done last summer but the owners in Abu Dhabi, Mubadala Development Corp. are keeping it walking for now, with the only hope being the P.1HH Hammerhead UAV for the military, but its done as a commercially viable aircraft, the market has spoken through the order book.

Textron Aviation delivered in 2016 11 x $ 3.59 million C90GTx’s (total sales $39.5 million), 32 x $6.23 million 250’s (total sales $199.4 million) and 63 x $8.44  million 350i/ER (total sales $532.0 million), the King Air 350 is 59% of all King Air deliveries and 69% of King Air sales.

Below is graph showing the delivery ‘slaughter’ of the Piaggio P.180 Avanti just by the Textron King Air 350 alone, never mind the King Air 200/250 being used.

The King Air line has dominated for years in this segment, in fact the top selling General Aviation twin pressurized turboprop aircraft in service are:

  1. King Air 90 at 1,816.
  2. King Air 200 at 1,678.
  3. King Air 350 at 723.
  4. Piper Cheyenne a 559.
  5. Aero Turbo Commander at 541.
  6. Cessna Conquest 441 at 255
  7. King Air 100 at 222.
  8. Other (MU-2, Merlin, Metro) at 898.


NOT IN GAMA NUMBERS: TWIN ENGINE UN-PRESSURIZED TURBOPROP MARKET (5 OEM’s, +/- 35 deliveries in 2016 and $+/- 255 million in sales)


Presently there are 5 OEM’s manufacturing 15-19 passenger un-pressurized turboprop airliners, and in 2016 around 35 were delivered, of which 6 would have been GE H80 powered LET-410’s, around 4 Honeywell TPE 331 powered RUAG Do228’s, and the rest PT6A powered aircraft.

Sadly the good days for this segment are long gone as you can see by the Graph attached below, BUT a market exists and new products will enter the market like the new Indonesian Aerospace N219 (PT6A powered CASA-212 without the rear loading ramp door), due by 2019 ?



Viking Air (Canada) the $+7.5 million DHC-6 Series 400 Twin Otter, the Type Certificate was purchased in 2005 from Bombardier for the DHC-6-100/200/300 Twin Otter and the first new aircraft was rolled out in 2010, and now around 110 units have been delivered, on top of the 844 built by de Havilland, with production now running at 18 units per year so $135 million in sales per year.


Aircraft Industries (Czech Republic based, but sadly Russian ownership) builds the LET-410 and it is the most widely built small regional aircraft built, with over 1,300 built since 1970, the company is presently owned by a Russian company and production is being moved to Russia in the near future, production last year was around 6 aircraft for the $5.5 million per unit aircraft, with a new model planned (Above Photo Left) the L-140NG with GE H80 engines. The company doe snot know how to sell and market the aircraft, I had a mandate for a 19 seat new turboprop last year from a Government Agency of a third world country, the lack of professionalism and interest in providing information and an offer was something beyond comprehension after 27 years after the fall of communism in the country, no wonder they struggle, there is always a reason (product, sales, marketing, positioning, money, value proposition or customer support).

Check out:

1 L410NG 1 L-410-UVP-E Aircraft Presentation

1 L410NG


The new AVIC Y-12F (Above Left) and the older Y-12E (Above Right) are produced by Harbin but in low numbers, in fact only 6 x Y12E’s built last year, the aircraft are FAA Type Certified but little interest till now for the $5.5 million to $8.0 million aircraft, note Y-12F is totally different than Y-12E, 45% higher MTOW and PT6A-65 engines over PT6A-135’s. Only about 220 have been built since early 1980’s, most delivered to military forces, few in airline service.

Check out:

READ: My blog on Y-12E and Y-12F on November 27, 2014


Y12F – 2016 -Presentation-201506 (1)


RUAG of Switzerland now owns the rights to the Dornier 228, and plans to build 4 to 8 per year of the $8.0+ million per unit aircraft, mostly for the government agencies for SAR, MPA, coastal patrol, few airline customers unless government subsidized. Large order for 8 to Venezuela’s military broke down and orders are slim at this time.

Check out:

RUAG Do228NG (1)


The Polish PZL Mielec M28 Skytruck, basically a AN-28 with PT6A-65B engines, most sales in Poland and the US military a spart of offset program for Poland buying F-16 fighters from Lockheed Martin. Lots of power, rear loading ramp, new price above $9.0 million, no deliveries for years, but demo tour on this month around the world.

Check out:

M28 Aircraft Brouchure




The Textron Aircraft Denali a 8 to 11 seat single engine turboprop powered by a new GE engine the aircraft will have a speed of 285 kts, 1,600 nm range, 1,100 full fuel payload, cargo door, Garmin 3000 touchscreen avionics and a price of $US 4.5 million and will target the PC-12NG, the big question is how big is the market ? If the single engine market went to 209 deliveries in 2008, then can it grow to 250+ ? as it will have to without hurting someone’s business.

The big news with the Denali is also the choice of a new FADEC equipped 1,240 shp engine from GE, the Advanced Turboprop (ATP) engine which beat out P&W and Honeywell for the order, as Textron was impressed with the new technology engine and its fuel savings, a five stage, axial-centrifugal compressor with a 16:1 pressure ratio, BUT the FADEC I understand was the clincher, something that the PT6A has lacked for sometime, and GE will now target the 1,200 to 1,800 shp market, while its acquisition of Czech engine manufacturer Walter is the base from which a new GE Aviation centre of excellence is being formed, and improving on what was the Walter M601, into the GE H75/H80 and H85 engines now on Thrush Aircraft (510G with 800 shp GE H80) and the Czech LET-410 and the new LET-410NG. Finally the PT6A has some competition from 750 shp up to 1,800 shp.


The $7.5 million Dornier Seawings is back in Germany with Chinese investors, the 12 seat twin amphibian has been around since early 1980’s, and the HOPE is that Wuxi Industrial Development the new owner will have a hit on its hands. This program is highly questionable, Diamond Aircraft in London, Ontario is building the first set of composite structures, but I do not see the market, another Chinese project that will disappear in the “black hole” never to be seen. I was Marketing Manager on the program back in 1990-1991, and I do not see this going forward, but I do hope it does and I am wrong, the water handling characteristics were horrible with a tandem engine configuration, need asymmetric thrust to turn in water can’t do it on torque.

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The Czech Republic’s Evektor EV-55 Outback, is still around, still does not have any money to finish the $50+ million EASA certification and the $40+ million production ramp up costs or the $100 million the 3 in legal battle owners want, BUT they have hired industry veteran Gerd Berchtold as new CEO (ex-COO of Grob Aircraft and ex-CEO at Diamond Aircraft) to do ? can’t do much without lots of money. Maybe he will bring in Chinese investors that bought 60% of Diamond Aircraft in Canada ?

Look the program is now 10 years old, the PT6A-21 is old 1960’s technology, why not the GE H75 when GE is in the Czech Republic ? its a gong show that I was in but that head no direction, the Malaysian investors were not what they claimed, and this program is struggling with little flying and certification work, great aircraft shame about the OEM though, something always goes wrong in the Czech Republic when it comes to commercializing an aircrfat program, great at engineering, and prototype construction, lousy at sales, marketing and customer service.

Without a new investor stepping in soon this program is sadly dead.


The US based, Russian owned Epic Aircraft is close with its $US 3.0+ million Epic 1000 but with 60 orders and most in Russia, who really knows ? the aircraft is fast at 325 kts with its PT6A-67 (1,200 shp de-rated engine) and a range of 1,400 nm, it will compete on performance with TBM930, PC-12NG and Textron Denali, BUT product support, training and documentation will not be up to snuff with the competition, its a risky, best to stick with the well known companies, and will Americans support a Russian owned company these days ? I would not.


Mahindra Aerospace, based in Australia owned by India, plans to finally come out with its very low price of $US 1.0 million (? in the past quoted $1.3 million)  Airvan 10, GA-10 single engine utility turboprop (PHOTO ABOVE LEFT) powered by the Rolls Royce M250 B-17F/2 a low cost 1+ 9 seat aircraft that has a max. cruise of 145 kts, a payload of 1,707 lbs and useful load of 2,300 lbs and takeoff distance of 1,600 feet (ISA, SL). It has taken the company a long time to stretch the piston GA-8 and put a small turboprop on it, while the GA-8 languishes with mediocre deliveries, only 9 in 2016 and only 66 deliveries in the past 5 years. The GA-10 should do well considering its low cost, which is 55% cheaper than the Quest Aircraft Kodiak 100 or 40% less than the $US 1.68 million PAC 750XStol. We shall see this year if the GA-10 is for real or not.

It is obvious Mahindra Aerospace has problems with sales and marketing, and with the GA-8 lacking orders, the GA10 may be too much for the company, and this is why I am not including this year the GA18, which is the GAF N24A Nomad twin engine turboprop for 18 passengers, a Type Certificate Mahindra has but at this time a “dream” only (PHOTO ABOVE RIGHT). Like PAC, seems the Value Proposition is not getting thru to customers, and that is a shame for both companies from ‘down under’.

Not sure what Mahindra Aerospace is doing, but with the GA-8 sales at +/- 11 per year, its not setting the market on fire, and if it can’t make a name for itself with the GA-8 than the GA-10 will suffer as well, if it does come to market.



Indonesian Aerospace N219, is working on its 19 passenger multi-purpose aircraft, developed from the license built CASA C-212 Aviocar, which is suppose to have its first flight in March, 2017, now ?The aircraft is powered by a PT6A-42 engine (850 shp) with a MTOW of 15,498 lbs and a cruise of 210 kts and a stall speed of 59 kts, and will find ready customers in Indonesia first and then with FAR23 it will look to export the aircraft, which was made possible by a $65 million load from the $1.0 billion Qatar-Indonesia Joint Investment Fund, and it looks promising indeed.

They have lots of orders from Indonesian operators already, and the company then has time to work on FAA certification, but the large domestic market can keep the company busy for some time with 160 orders and 15 options at last count from Indonesian operators, if all real that could be 6+ years of production just for local operators, so don’t expect FAA certification soon here.

From Lion Air‘s (operates 120+ B737/A320’s plus 480+ on order) 2016 big order for 100 x N291’s, Trigana Air Service (operates 8 x B737-200/300/400, 3 DHC-6, 6 x ATR-42 and 3 x ATR-72) order for 10 plus 5 options, Aviastar Mandiri (operates 5 x DHC-6 and 2 x BAe 146-200) ordered 20 plus 10 options and Nusantra Buana Air (Operates 5 x Casa 212-200).


That is it, you now have a good understanding of the GA turboprop market, the winners and losers and the new up and comers.

Thank you for reading my blog, keep the comments coming, till next time, cheers.

Tomas Chlumecky





About Aviation Doctor - Helping aviation companies to transform the present into a more profitable tomorrow

I am a Canadian and EU national with an MBA and 33+ years experience in aviation business development with 20 years overseas and work in 30+ countries. A former investment/merchant banker (mergers and acquisitions to corporate turnarounds). airline and OEM senior executive and past owner of 6 successful aviation companies in 3 countries (executive jet charter/management companies, aircraft sales, aircraft broker, airline/aerospace consulting to aircraft insurance). I have a very diverse aviation background with 75+ aviation companies (50+ airlines of all sizes, OEM's, airports, lessors, MRO to service providers) as consultant, executive management, business analyst and business development adviser. Excellent success track record in International Business Development. Most work with airlines is with new start-ups and restructuring of troubled carriers. I sold new business jets, turboprops and helicopters for Cessna, Raytheon, Gulfstream to Eurocopter as an ASR as well as undertaking sales and marketing of commercial aircraft for Boeing, de Havilland, Dornier, Saab and Beechcraft. Brokered everything from LET-410's to B747's and from piston PA31 to G550 business jets. I look beyond the headlines of the aviation news and analyze what the meaning and consequences of the new information really means. There is a story behind each headline that few go beyond. Picked the name Aviation Doctor, as much of my work has been with troubled companies or those that want and need to grow profitably. I fix problems in the business for a better tomorrow. You can reach me with comments or suggestions at: Tomas.Aviation@gmail.com I write a lot of Articles and Posts on LinkedIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomas-chlumecky-3200a021/


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