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A service for airline industry professionals · Thursday, September 20, 2018 · 462,519,344 Articles · 3+ Million Readers


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The Jetson's!

Takeaways from NBAA 2017 in Las Vegas

Everyone in aviation seems poised to do great things in 2018.”
— Stephen Green
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, October 16, 2017 / -- Growing up in the 70’s, one of the most popular shows on television was a cartoon called the Jetson’s. The idea that one day we would take to the skies in these futuristic bubble capsules operating on something other than a combustion engine was at once comical and also unlikely.

Having just returned from NBAA in Las Vegas, the unlikely part of that equation is quickly eroding; the comical part isn’t even in our debate anymore. It’s happening, and happening fast.

The buzz at NBAA 201 was a mix of awareness of the tragedy that had unfolded in Las Vegas the previous week, but also a sense that aviation is truly on the cusp of major positive changes. ADSB and general avionics designs are fast outpacing the previous versions, doing Moore’s Laws spins around their previously released versions. It’s stunning to see the developments from companies like Garmin and Gogo; each new product is a leap year advancement, enabling pilots (and customers) incredible leapfrogs in safety and comfort. Gogo's new 4G is crushing it, and Garmin is all out on its display systems.

The planes themselves are just ridiculously better versions of their past selves. Going from Bombardier’s newest Global, the exquisite 7000, to Quest Aircraft’s Kodiak K100, these machines are approaching beyond-perfect specimens. The interiors are iPhone X customer service status level, and the exteriors are incorporation the newest biomimicry and advanced engineering to reduce drag, increase fuel efficiency, and smooth out air conditions. Advancements in metallurgy technology keeps allowing for stronger machines at lesser weights.

Drone technology, once a fad for Generation X GoPro fanatics, is quickly capturing the imaginations of business-minded aviators, seeing an opening for passenger-carrying vehicles operating on 8 blades, powered by electric batteries. Though they were not at NBAA 2017, it’s safe to say that eHang of China will continue to make waves in design and production in this field, while larger companies like Boeing and Airbus sit back ready to pounce once testing is completed by the startups.

NBAA 2017 exhibited remarkable confidence and buoyancy of the industry. Everyone in aviation seems poised to do great things in 2018. The economy is going great, enabling charter operators like VistaJet and WheelsUp to continue to post impressive customer numbers.

What’s next is likely a combination of the Jetson’s type aviation vessels as well as continuous improvement in existing manufacturer models. Fuel usage per plane is likely to continue to drop while number of miles increases (thus negating usage drops), electric will likely take more and more market share, plane performance will improve with every model, and well managed and well run companies will continue to separate themselves from their competitors. It’s a really exciting time to be in aviation, even more than when George Jetson flew in his capsule.

Stephen Green
Charter Aviation and Jet Maintenance
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