WICHITA, KS-Cessna Aircraft Co. is reporting booming sales of its single-engine piston aircraft line. During one 3-week period this past spring, the company received more than 450 orders. With 2005 production already sold, orders are now being taken for delivery in 2006.

Cessna vice president of marketing Phil Michel, attributes the surge in demand in part to the advanced avionics packages the company is installing in its airplanes. He notes that Cessna also recently lifted a hold on new orders, which it had put in place to avoid developing an unwieldy backlog of work.

"We carefully monitor the time between aircraft order and delivery," Michel says. "Although we suspended order taking for a short time to help shorten the order to delivery time, this influx of new orders has even exceeded our expectations."

Cessna's single-engine piston-driven product line includes the 172R Skyhawk, 172S Skyhawk SP, 182T Skylane, T182T Turbo Skylane, 206H Stationair and T206H Turbo Stationair. Cessna delivered 654 single-engine piston aircraft in 2004. In 2005, Cessna expects to deliver approximately 900 single-engine piston aircraft.