Aviation has completed over a century of dynamic growth and advancement, resulting in the present air transportation system dominated by the commercial airline industry’s hub and spoke system. The initial 50 years of aviation were a chaotic, rapid evolutionary process involving disruptive technologies that required frequent modifications. The second half century produced a stable evolutionary optimization of services based on achieving an objective function of economical operations. In the ongoing 50 years of what I call Aviation 3.0, there is a potential for aviation to transform itself into a more robust, scalable, adaptive, secure, safe, affordable, convenient, efficient, and environment friendly system. Read more about environment friendly aviation initiative in my “Green is the future of Aviation as Well” article.
However, such a global optimization requires not only the ability to perform analysis of larger system of system impacts, but also the ability to consider new value propositions that involve different infrastructures and business models that those which are currently the norm of the present aviation industry. While many obstacles exist, including technology, regulations, and perception; the Aviation 3.0 has the potential to mirror other on-demand market revolutions that have taken place over the past half century.
Highly successful innovators like Henry Ford and even Wright brothers believed that aviation would one day be capable of reaching an everyday impact in our daily lives. Yet after many years of rather empty promises, ranging from road-able aircraft to a a helicopter in every garage, the aviation community remains transfixed in a highly centralized world of very expensive, and not cost efficient aircraft.
Pessimists of the personal aircraft vision say that the aviation market evolution has brought us to the logical solution. Optimists of the vision respond that government regulations and the conservatism of the aerospace community have inhibited the industry. Both are correct, and as is typically the case, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. However, with a long-term viewpoint of demand and utility, it seems inevitable that in the very near future small aircraft will have a far more significant daily impact in many of our daily activities.
Sport pilot regulations, training and certification of the pilots, and the sport aircraft are a result of such an initiative from the government and the industry. If you desire to experience the spirit of what I am trying to express here in this article, find some time during your busy lives, visit your local GA airport, and ask someone in one of those FBOs to arrange for a demo flight for you in one of their Sport Aircraft. And then come back here and give this article and second read. And leave me a comment here underneath.