This year’s EBACE convention (the European Business Aviation Convention) really gave me some food for thought, after having the opportunity to view some of the static aircraft displays, view new aircraft to the market, and chat to some exhibitors. It got me thinking about the direction the business aviation industry is heading; in terms of design, technology and the changes I have been a party to whist working in the industry.
You would think given the amount of money at play in this industry we would be leading the way with innovation, whilst that is true certification of products for aircraft can take some time, safety testing and certification is paramount.
Aviation clientele often expect their cabin environment to be like their home or even utilize the same standard of entertainment systems. Back in the day at most you would have a satellite phone, if you were lucky a very slow internet connection and either a built in media player or a heavy pack of DVD’s to file through.
Thankfully we have moved on, now passengers have applications on their phones and IPADS that can connect them to the aircraft’s media. Bluetooth technology allows them to stream their own music and media wirelessly on-board. The Bombardier Global 6000 has wave technology fitted, for business passengers this enables them to video-conference, use high-speed Internet or stream films just as you would at home or in the office.
Many manufacturers are doing away with clunky buttons around the seat area and many cabin features are controlled from an iPod or built in PED. Net jets owners will soon be able to use their own smart phones for calls and texts whilst airborne via an app from GOGO business aviation routing. As we speak developers and designers are working on a host of technology that could really revolutionize the passenger experience, it seems that the world of business aviation is fast becoming wireless.
As a fan of bombardier products excuse the bias, the new global 7000 still gets my vote. It is visually stunning; it has a range of 7000 nautical miles and a 4 section larger cabin. It boasts impressive cabin technology, a fixed aft bedroom, cinema room with a 50inch LED TV and large panoramic cabin windows. The bathroom has an option for a stand up shower, the galley looks like a work of art with the galley equipment coffer brewers etc. becoming contemporary design features. Then we get to the induction hob in the galley, making my kitchen at home look a bit sad. There is a decent sized crew rest with an option of a bunk for those long trips combined with extra quiet sound proofed cabin- yes please
Whilst this wasn’t at EBACE and probably wont be for some time (the first test flights wont be till 2021 the Aerion Supersonic jet is interesting. Since the retirement of our beloved Concorde there has been no supersonic travel. The Aerion is a tri engine supersonic jet capable of carrying up to 12 passengers at a top speed of Mach 1.5. To put it into perspective the aircraft can cut a transatlantic crossing down to three hours from the usual six. It has a range of 4740 nautical mile at Mach speeds, which is not to be sniffed at. Flexjet, an American company has put a firm order in for 20 of these and plans to use them on routes where there are no restrictions on supersonic booms. Could the future be supersonic?