Well it's that time of year again, a time for us all to reflect and contemplate the aviation highlights and lowlights of the year gone by. But for this year we must go further, as the end of this year signifies something much bigger. Hold on to your helmets and aviator shades people, as we've also got a decade to review
From Y2k to 2010, the aviation landscape has changed significantly, with the catatrosphe of 9/11, major aircraft developments (and delays), airline growth and major contraction, the Iraq invasion, the growth of UAVs, and of course the Ryanair Calendar girls all shaping a busy decade.
As for 2009, You all predicted last year that the A400M would fly, as would the Dreamliner (which of course is due to fly today).
So fair AirSpace user, what are your events that have helped shape this unknown landscape that is 2010?
AirSpace - more than just hot air
this week's Question of the Week (featured on the home page and in the next issue of Flight International) asks:
What was the most important aircraft of the decade?
To vote go here ...
However if you think a different aircraft deserves recognition for it's achievements this decade then state you case on this thread below. Our answer criteria was that to be considered an aircraft had to have had its first flight or come into service in the last 10 years.
Personally, my vote would go to the F-22. A game-changing 5th generation strike aircraft that can move through the sky like nothing else I've ever seen.
Happy New Year folks!
The plane that most shaped the decade was the Boeing 737 - flew more people, generated more wealth than any other. It's at the heart of many low cost carriers, which have made air travel an everyday event for millions.
It may be an old basic design, but it matters more today than ever, and more than any other.
Concorde should be on the list. It was the last SST aircraft in service. Its withdrawal from service marks the end of airline service of supersonic planes. Also, the Boeing 747-400 should be on the list too. It has been a workhorse of long-haul international services since 1989. It connects people from many nations together.
I'd have to say the Eclipse 500. Not because it was a success (that may still happen, but unlikely) but because that aircraft proved the viability of several new manufacturing technologies. It also raised the bar for turbine-powered light aircraft.
My choice would be the B777-300ER. This I believe was truly a plane of the noughties. It had the effect of driving costs down, opening up markets and prompted the A350XWB from Airbus.
The A380 and B787 will really come into their own in the coming decade, as will the A350 (with a bit of luck).
It's exciting times we live in.
For my money the winner HAS to be the Eclipse 500, despite the uncertain start. Why? Simply because it's a revolutionary step forward in private aircraft design and execution. A twin jet for the price of a piston twin! It's certainly a breath of fresh air in a market dominated by 20-30 year old piston designs, and mores the pity that Adam Aircraft won't be around to witness the culmination of the revolution they helped to spark!
Undoubtedly, some of the technologies developed for the 500 will filter up into commercial, and maybe even military aviation, and the "500 effect" has convinced even the most conservative plane makers that there's a lucrative market sector to be exploited. Pity that Eclipse themselves may not be able to harvest the fruits of their design labours, but the certiification processes found them wanting.
All we need now is for the research into renewable energy for aviation to bear fruit, and Jet E1 (E for ecological) seems as good a name as any ! Who knows, with the imposition of yet another tax on aviation (the carbon tax) from 2012, a Jet fuel derived from sugar cane could be the industries way of thumbing its nose at the tax man! Hold on, what this about offsetting chlorophyll?
Peace and love in 2012.
My choice would be a pilotless aircraft ..... the so called "Beast of Kandahar" ..... A.K.A. Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel ..... a mistery plane with a mistery mission .....