Anything, that looks forward instead of a retrospective, is welcome as 2020 comes to an end. The history of aviation does not fall into a collection of algorithm forecasted points. Based on that premise about reliability of crystal-balling, here are some WAG predictions about 2021 (not in order of importance or priorities):
- Secretary Buttigieg will set records in AIP grants. The massive investments in aviation infrastructure before the long-term impact of COVID-19’s on aviation (long term diminished demand, lesser reliance on hubs as collecting points, increased space per passenger, less vendor areas, greater air circulation…)
- Biden EPA Administrator will reopen the Trump Control of Air Pollution from Airplanes and Airplane Engines: GHG Emission Standards and Test Procedures – Final Rulemaking | Regulations for Emissions from Vehicles and Engines | US EPA
- Congress will hold further investigations/hearings on several internal FAA organizational changes (AIR reorganization, prescriptive v. performance certification standards, collaborative v. punitive safety compliance, Aircraft Certification reorganization, training). These are issues to which employee organizations have objected.
- The Congressionally mandated ODA revisions will require considerable time to implement.
5. The UAS sector will continue to expand at a high-rate necessitating additional resources for the drone FAA Implementation of the AAM will be a major time burden and efforts to outsource the air traffic functions will be attempted.
4. GA aircraft innovation will result in a record number of Part 23 applications. ASTM’s resources will be taxed, but will handle the demand.
5. The Gray Charter market will begin to decline in volume. A few high-profile, high-dollar ENFORCEMENT cases will increase the deterrence. Hopefully, it will not occur, but a crash of a charter without P135 authority will result in insurance companies to deny coverage because of the certificate requirement in the policy. Perhaps marginal operators will recognize that applying for a P135 is financially justified because of civil penalty and insurance exposures.
6.HR 4804’s, reforming the FAA’s certification process, most immediate impact will be the added $27M:
- Authorizes $27,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2021 through 2023 in new appropriations for the FAA to recruit and retain engineers, safety inspectors, human factors specialists, software and cybersecurity experts, and other qualified technical experts who perform duties related to the certification of aircraft, engines, and other components.
7. Green technology developments will advance aviation’s achievement of CO2 emissions, such as:
- Major personnel changes at the senior levels will occur and will slow progress. The political positions (all but one?) will be filled with members of the Biden team (hopefully individuals with some aviation experience/knowledge. The last 2-3 years have been marked with weaknesses at the executive positions and new blood might be a good idea IF candidates with experience and familiarity with the organizations can be found.
Likely that few of these prognostications will be right; my hero, Carnac, the Magnificent set the standard.
PLEASE BE BOLD AND ADD YOUR 2021 PREDICTIONS IN THE BELOW COMMENTS SECTION.
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