The past year has been an interesting time for aviation. In addition to multiple new aircraft, records have been broken and we are seeing major leaps in aviation technology. Below, we have compiled some of the biggest aviation news of 2016.
After the retirement of the Concorde, people have been speculating if supersonic flight would be abandoned. Thankfully, NASA has begun work on how to use X-planes for supersonic travel. The caveats are that the X-planes need to operate with decreased emissions and fuel, while not producing sonic booms. The new aircraft will feature Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST), which will allow for high speeds being reached over land. The first X-plane that will be released is the X-57 Maxwell in 2017.
Some say that the M600 is the best Piper aircraft ever made. This aircraft boasts increased speed and range, attributed to the enlarged wing size. The Garmin 3000 avionics system and touch screen, giving the M600 an advantage over other cabin-class single aircraft.
After the huge interest in drone usage, the FAA stepped in this year with guidelines and regulations. Many of the rules are pretty simple, drone pilots must be 16 years old, drone pilots must have a certificate issued by the FAA, and drones can’t travel at speeds above 100 mph. One of the sticking points of the regulations is that drones must be operated within line of sight of the pilots, no using the cameras as first-person guidance. Short of changes with government aviation regulations, drone prevalence is the biggest aviation news of 2016. Read the FAA: Unmanned Aircraft Systems Regulations
The location will serve as the final stage of production for the Legacy 450, Legacy 500, and Phenom line business jets. A virtual reality (VR) room allows customers to tour aircraft that have yet to be built. One of the main hallways features a recreation of their aircraft with small photos of each Embraer employee. The Embraer expansion in Florida will add a projected 600 jobs to the area over the next 5 years.
On July 26th, the Solar Impulse 2 became the first aircraft to fly around the world – without fuel. How did it fly? The Solar Impulse 2 uses 4 electric motors and 4 lithium-ion batteries to store the power gathered from photo-voltaic cells placed on the wings. The journey was made by two pilots, Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, originating and ending in Abu Dhabi. The flight shows just how far sustainable energy in aviation has come.
Trump has been very forthcoming in many of his thoughts regarding commercial aviation in the US. Many remember his concerns with improving US airports, foreign trade policies, and presidential flying costs – namely the new Air Force One. We are anxious to see what will happen with Trump and aviation in 2017.