Gazing to the future of aviation

2013-08-28

Nowadays aviation is a rapidly changing playfield. The continuously growing industry requires a lot of attention and the society values its expansion very differently.  However, one must admit that most communities tend to perceive the importance of aviation more narrowly than it really is. For this reason the vast majority of people find it rather difficult to imagine aviation after 20 or more years. Anyway, there is a visible tendency that our society is increasingly interested in the preeminent future of aviation, with all impending changes and perspectives. Currently, the most relevant questions concern the most important differences if comparing aviation today and in the future and, ultimately, the main conceivable changes in the training of future pilots.

Aircraft external changes to expect in the future

One of the differences between aircraft of today and aircraft in the future lies in its design. Based on industry experience so far, this sphere has always been, is and will continue to be developing very rapidly. However, it might be hard to imagine what could be changed after a few years, let alone decades. Recently NASA has tried to envisage a future aircraft of 2025. It has revealed some examples of how a new, modern, innovative and eco-friendly aircraft should look like. Some design changes are visible from the first glance. The simulated models look exceptionally modern, innovative and shocking at once. However, it is not only the external changes that NASA has tackled. For example, in the future we may see ultramodernly shaped memory alloy, ceramic or fibre composites, carbon nanotubes or fibre optic cabling, self-healing skin, hybrid electric engines, folding wings, double fuselages and virtual reality windows.

Making aviation greener

New aircraft models will be superior not only because of the changes in their appearance but also due to the internal capabilities which would make future aviation greener and more eco-friendly. It might be said that these capabilities could reshape the history of aviation entirely.

These days the topics related to greener types of transport are extremely relevant and commonly discussed. However, most people still think that only cars or bicycles could be eco-friendly. For the vast majority of modern consumers it is even difficult to imagine that in the future the field of aviation could become greener. It could be achieved by reducing the consumption of fuel by 50 percent and minimizing the amount of harmful emissions.  In 2011 NASA even assigned three industry teams which had to spend the entire year studying and looking for ways to make future aircraft burn 50 percent less fuel than earlier aircraft that entered service in 1998 as well as to discard 75 percent fewer harmful emissions and shrink the size of geographic areas affected by undesirable airport noise by 83 percent.

Another way to make the aviation field more eco-friendly involves the use of alternative fuels. It is likely that in the future the bio-derived fuels, methanol, ethanol, liquid natural gas, liquid hydrogen and synthetic fuels will replace or append the traditional jet fuels. Scientists agree that these alternatives have a good potential in aviation but nowadays it is still more suitable for ground transportation because aircraft are not yet as fuel-flexible as ground vehicles are.

Future pilot training

When discussing the future of aviation one cannot ignore the topic of future flight training. Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook claims that by 2030 the aviation industry will demand more than 460.000 of new commercial airline pilots. According to R. Bowen Loftin, The President of Texas A&M University, the future simulators will depend on adaptive interfaces which are reasonably general even at least through a received domain. ‘What is more, it could be also easily adapted to a range of simulation claims,’ said Mr. Loftin  in his article ‘The Future of Simulation’.

One of the innovations already widely used in the pilot community and amongst student pilots is iPad apps. This technology is an equally useful tool for both experienced captains and freshmen students. It is also an extra studying measure which is really necessary as a resource on the ground.  Baltic Aviation Academy is one of the increasing number of companies which are open to such new technologies and innovations. Recently, the aviation training centre has integrated iPad into the pilot training process. This innovation enables all Baltic Aviation Academy students to save their studying time and money. At the same time it gives a chance to enjoy the studying process even more. One of the biggest goals of the aviation training centre is to make the studying process more efficient and effective and iPad integration has allowed to speed the process of achieving this goal significantly.

Sources: pilottraining-network.com; nasa.gov; techgraffiti.com; flyingmag.com ; resilience.org; ipadpilotnews.com

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