The international organisation that represents owners and pilots of private light aircraft describes the situation in Europe’s general aviation sector as “dire”. Consumer belt-tightening, pressure to turn “inefficient” local aerodromes into housing and industrial estates, increasing red tape and a general feeling that flying for fun is no longer an exciting option for many teenagers: all are squeezing an industry that once supported dozens of thriving small manufacturers throughout the UK and the Continent.
What can be done? As part of a special GA package ahead of this week’s Aero show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, Kate Sarsfield looks at what is ailing the general aviation market and the possible solutions for its survival. Meanwhile, innovation continues. We assess the health of Europe’s light sport aircraft manufacturers and what is being done to boost that category in the region. We also check out the latest developments in diesel engine technology, with a series of programmes under development to replace the current generation of avgas powerplants available to airframers and owners.
Elsewhere in the feature section, David Learmount asks when the airline industry is going to take the problem of cockpit fume contamination seriously. Is this an issue that governments, manufacturers and airlines simply refuse to confront?
In news, we have a report from ABACE in Shanghai, where China’s new rich are providing a lifeline for business jet makers.
We find out why EADS is bidding Daimler, one of its founding shareholders, auf wiedersehen, investigate the reasons behind Indonesia’s awful airline safety record, and have the latest on Airbus’s planned A380 wing fix.