There’s no shortage of headlines talking about the “next big thing” in aviation. Most of them focus on VTOLs (vertical take off and landing) and autonomous flight vehicles, or new concepts that we might not see for another decade or more. But what about the future of aviation in the near-term? What’s powering demand for better private aircraft today? Below, we’ll look at four major trends that are real and tangible today, taking shape right before our eyes as the industry trudges forward into a new era.
Blazing new trails: a look at the path behind us
The world of aviation develops at a rate almost too fast for the naked eye to comprehend. In the last several years, the world of private flight has improved on every conceivable level, from customer-facing to technology-oriented.
Take, for instance, the rise of flight sharing. This concept has made private flight much more affordable to first-time flyers and hasn’t sacrificed an iota of the comfort and convenience associated with private travel. Then there’s the automatic return feature recently developed at Cirrus. In the event of pilot failure, the push of a single button will allow untrained passengers to return to the point of origin in safety. These are just two recent examples of innovation that show the diverse opportunities within aviation.
Aviation is an industry powered by the strength of its advancements. Here are four of the most fascinating, must-watch trends in aviation.
1. Supersonic jets
When the Concorde was shuttered, many in the general public believed the days of supersonic flight was over. A handful of investors and inventors kept the technology alive, however. Today’s supersonic prototypes are cleaner and more powerful than their predecessors. Now, a legal battle is in the works to ensure that supersonic jets can see the light of day once more.
2. Environmentally friendly jets
The threat of climate change is real enough, but the need to diminish our harm to the planet doesn’t stop our need to travel great distances in a short period of time. As a result, several firms are developing jets driven by biofuels that produce lower emissions than ever thought possible. Keep an eye out for advancements in microalgae and biodiesel as science pushes fuel to greener pastures.
3. AI and machine learning
These days, every airline passenger expects some form of Wi-Fi with their ticket. We’re a connected world, and we want to stay connected. As a result, firms like Honeywell (among others) spend billions of dollars a year to turn airline Wi-Fi into a wholly reimagined passenger experience. This goes far beyond inflight TV and video games. Expect a future where aviation is powered by machines that can predict, adapt, and plan for an optimal flight experience.
4. Increasing charter demand
Let’s face it: commercial flight has hit its peak. Without some serious quality-of-life improvements, most commercial flights feel more like flying buses than a distinguished means of travel. People have noticed, and charter businesses and independent airlines have seen an uptick in patronage.
An industry of experimentation
While those are some of the strongest tailwinds blowing in aviation, they are by no means the only way the industry is working to improve private flight. Advancements in biometrics, a reliance on energy-efficiency, and a commitment to increased comfort have created a collection of like-minded competitors continually working to outdo one another. Isn’t it time to get in on the fun?