Billions of people around the world hop on flights every year and every time they do, it seems as though the aviation industry has found ways to make their air experience better. Look no further than the fact that just over 100 years ago, the first plane was crafted and was barely able to get off the ground.
Today, airplanes whisk people across the world in hours.
As we celebrate the rich history of aviation, it’s important to not get too caught up in plane’s far past and occasionally, pay attention to modern innovations that are making flying better for passengers, businesses and the environment.
In this post, we share what we feel are the most noteworthy, recent advances that have hit aeronautics. We hope they inspire you to wonder what’s coming next as much as they’ve inspired us too!
1. Virtual (Reality) Training
Sitting in the cockpit of an airplane is no simple task. As a commercial pilot, you have to manage everything from altitude to engine health.
All of that juggling takes practice and that practice is best not earned, at least at first, while flying a 175,000-pound jet.
Fortunately, virtual training came on the scene a few decades back, and now it’s a requirement for anybody that’s looking to get their pilot’s license. What’s better is that training simulators have started to adopt virtual reality which has made practicing flying even more immersive for aspiring pilots!
2. The Entrance of Drones
When people think of aviation, most don’t consider drones. The truth is though that drones are in the flying business and are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Drones have come up big in the last ten years given the number of applications they’ve been applied to.
For starters, there’s the recreational activity of drone flying. Look no further than your local park to see that in action. Looking at more robust uses, drone technology has allowed unmanned aircraft to tackle military missions and have started to revolutionize shipping by allowing companies like Amazon to fly packages to people’s doors.
3. 3D Printing
If you’re wondering how 3D printing and aviation technological breakthroughs have anything to do with one another, we don’t blame you! After all, most people don’t think about manufacturing when they think of planes.
Billions of dollars are invested in aviation manufacturing and with that money has come a massive responsibility to efficiently produce quality parts.
3D printers offer an economical way to scale up production, craft important pieces without using too much in the way of raw materials and ultimately, increase the expediency and accuracy of plane part building.
4. Internet of Things (IoT)
“Internet of Things” was a term coined in the last decade that can be hard to grasp. It refers to the internet connecting billions of devices and that communication enabling a better user experience.
Looking at aeronautics, the Internet of Things empowers cutting-edge communication between a pilot and their plane. For example, if an engine is having trouble, that trouble can be immediately dictated to a pilot’s onboard computer. That information can then be transferred to a control center where specialists can analyze data and offer guidance on how best to proceed.
Heightened communication between things boosts information which in turn, improves safety and paves the way for many more innovations to come.
5. eCommerce and Supply Chains
50 years ago, if you had a private aircraft and needed to buy a GNSS Receiver for it, what would you do? Chances are, you’d need to already know of a specialty company that manufactures that item, place a call, and negotiate a deal over the phone.
Today, acquiring a niche part like that is as easy as hopping on the internet, pulling up some information on GNSS options like the info you can read here, and placing an online order. That’s the power of eCommerce!
eCommerce has enabled anorectics enthusiasts to quickly get their hands on the supplies they need. Better access to quality parts makes hobbyists happy, moves businesses forward, and makes for safer air travel.
6. Onboard Connectivity
Having WIFI on a flight almost feels like a given today. Look back a decade ago though and in-flight WIFI was hard to find. Two decades ago, the technology was non-existent!
The thought of being 30,000 feet in the air and still being able to stream movies, check social media posts and call family is no small feat. So, when you hop on WIFI during your next flight, give a quiet thank you to the incredible engineers that enabled that innovation.
Airplanes, while a convenient way to travel, create a massive carbon footprint. Realizing that, engineers have worked to produce modern planes that have reduced emissions substantially when compared to the first commercially operable jets.
That feat has been accomplished by using cleaner fuel, lighter airplane parts, improving aerodynamics and using more efficient engines.
Aviation Technology Is an Industry-Wide Priority That’s Creating Better Flights
From being in the air flying to being on the ground building airplane parts, aviation technology is powering every aspect of the aeronautics industry.
The innovations we’ve shared with you touch the surface of how flying has improved over the last 30 years or so. We challenge you to dig deeper and go back further to continue understanding just how far planes have come.
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