General aviation–future uncertain

 - March 1, 2011, 3:00 AM

Think back to when you were a fresh-faced kid staring into a beckoning sky, building the foundations of the passion for flying that has sustained your life since. The future of general aviation depends on reigniting that dream in younger generations, and all of us owe it to our roots to play a part in fanning the flames.

In this AIN special report, Matt Thurber looks at the factors at work behind the decline of general aviation since its heyday in the late 1970s–specifically the shrinking numbers of new-entrant and active pilots, and overly burdensome or unnecessary regulation–and their effects on the broader fortunes of the segment of flying that has traditionally been the first step for countless pilots and other aviation professionals gainfully employed today. Nigel Moll talked with a diverse cast of prominent figures and looks at the way ahead for reestablishing general aviation in a sustained rate of climb.

The recent specter of user fees in the U.S. united the diverse elements of general aviation, from puddlejumpers to captains of industry, and they were able to seize victory from the jaws of the powerful airline lobby. General aviation's tomorrows depend on staying united and nourishing the roots that all of aviation depends on.

Read the Special Report: AIN_2011_GA_Future_Uncertain.pdf

VIDEO: The Future of General Aviation