Since the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk, aviation has continually provided a very forward-looking optimistic view of the future. We know aviation will remain in a state of evolution, but we have to ask the question, how will that evolution adapt to the many potential obstacles to growth that are currently being experienced? The recent increased minimum flight time (implemented in August 2013) required for commercial pilots will certainly play a big role in this process. The reduction of pilot certificates being issued has resulted in a greatly diminished pilot community. As general aviation withers, corporate aviation proliferates.
Will the issue of expensive training be solved by more utilization of advanced simulator training? It is the most plausible avenue. Will new pilots lose interest without the many stimulating intangibles that pilots experience during actual flight? The thrill of being a military fighter pilot is nearly in the dustbin of history, as many of the new pilots are being trained to fly drones. Many pilots will reject a career of flying drones. How long will a fossil fuel last? Will biofuel be available in the same mass quantities as is today’s aviation fuels? Are solar powered airplanes feasible?