Tom Horne

Recession, and the “D” word

April 10, 2008 by Thomas A. Horne, Editor At Large

Woke up this morning, and there was CNN’s economic reporter, talking about recession and–ugh–depression. Then they ran a tape of Robert Reich saying that the nation has a 20-percent chance of landing in a full-blown depression. Way to start the day.

Out at the airport, I asked several manufacturer’s representatives what they thought about this economic angst. What was the word? Hawker Beechcraft can’t keep up with the demand. Pilatus still has a line of customers buying the “old” PC-12–current production models that will be phased out as the NG models (with the Honeywell Apex panel) are brought to market. “Getting an airplane sooner is more of a priority than getting the glass,” a salesman said.

Over at Diamond, a salesman didn’t take the bait when I suggested that customers may not be getting Diamonds fast enough. “We don’t have that problem” came the terse reply.

Corporate demand remains very, very strong for turbine aircraft, as it’s tied to healthy profits. In the owner-flown, piston market, bad economic news may be having an early impact.

Moral: Let’s not talk up the D-word. Owner-flown aircraft purchases are largely emotional. We don’t need the chattering classes on 24/7 cable/satellite to put us all in a bad purchasing mood. Besides, this isn’t 1929. There are many protections against financial swings. Just look at Bears Stearns’ recent bailout.



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