The European general aviation sector is not a great place to be at the moment, and hasn't been for some years. A dwindling interest in private flying, not helped by the expense of lessons and maintaining an aircraft and the difficulty of accessing local airports, and a sluggish professional training market, has fed through to lower production rates.
But as the industry gathers at the birthplace of Zeppelin this week for its annual Aero Friedrichshafen convention, there are signs of uplift. Newish aircraft categories at either end of the owner-flyer market - light sport aircraft and very light or personal jets - have in recent years injected some innovation and excitement into what had become a very staid product offering. Alternative diesel engines also promise to wean flyers off their reliance on avgas.
Our special preview in the 12 April issue of Flight International looks ahead at some of the themes likely to be foremost in the minds of delegates as they arrive at the southern German lakeside resort this week.