It is easy to postulate that a 100 year old industry is reaching that point on the maturity curve where growth flattens out. The below three articles suggest that the aviation projection continues to lift upward. Aeronautical engineers—powerplant, structural, materials, systems, etc.—continue to explore new dimensions of how to improve performance. Those true geniuses keep this industry vibrant and create new opportunities for better services for the public.
A German company, Diamond Aircraft, has designed an “electronic parachute,” a computer takes control of the plane when the pilot is incapacitated and guides it to a landing at an airport, even choosing an airfield which has ground capabilities to deal with the emergency.
Here’s the video of the system working. The addition of the electronic parachute would cost $80,000- $100,000.
When the plane loses power, a parachute could be deployed.
Exciting development II involves an engineering advanced previously mentioned. The significance of this report is that Flexjet placed an order for 20 Aerion AS2 supersonic jet ($2.4B). Flexjet chairman Kenn Ricci called the airplane a “potential game changer for business travel.” Speed is a concept that is hard to put in concrete terms, Aerion made the following explanation in comprensible, real terms:
“For busy international travelers, all that extra speed quickly adds up to more productive days and even weeks over the course of a year. For example, a typical long-range business jet that would log about 250,000 miles in a year would fly for about 500 hours, while the same miles could be covered in the AS2 in about 300 hours. The difference for travelers is the equivalent of 25 8-hour workdays.”
That’s impressive; the tough question is what price would be associated with 25 8-hour days. Though the report does not mention whether the order included some deposit, the fact that Flexjet has demonstrated some confidence in the AS2’s business case is some proof of concept.
The last story indicates that Russia may be entering the global aerospace market, joining the US, France/Germany/UK, Canada, Brazil and China. Rosavia is planning to develop a new aircraft, the Frigate Ecojet. The innovation here is the elliptic shape, providing an efficient fuselage allowing more than 350 passengers in a three-aisle configuration, keeping weight and dimensions below those of wide-body aircraft of similar capacity.
In addition, the Frigate would benefit from other technology upgrades as described only in this graphic.
Aviation may be a 100 year old business, but the industry keeps reinventing itself in very exciting ways.