It's time to face facts and pay respects, tech bloggers and smartphone savants: your mobile revolution might never have been without the DIY determination and grit of America's bush pilots and GA aviators. Maybe the Nexus 4 is the most elegant mobile device ever conceived by the tony geeks of Silicon Valley. Aviation's creative brain trust should be forgiven for missing TechCrunch sonnets to Google Android; these metageeks were busy collaborating with Microsoft on cutting-edge flight simulation technology.
Or debugging NextGen aircraft surveillance.
Or maybe even working on new green technology to make America's small planes more fuel efficient.
Fuel efficient engines like the popular Austrian engine maker Rotax's 912 and U.S. designer Flight Design's CTLSi are very much "in." Although the fuel efficient concept is not new to automobile engines it is somewhat of a revelation for small aircraft (via Wired).
ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) is officially changing how small plane pilots fly which is how it has ended up on the 2012 trends list. ADS-B is surveillance technology used by the NextGen to track aircraft. The system replaces radar and provides traffic and government generated graphical weather information, through TIS-B and FIS-B applications, for small craft.
Cockpit cameras are still a big hit and getting bigger as the technology continues to develop. In-cockpit cameras are great for entertainment as well as teaching. Pilots are using them for everything from YouTub footage to recording a student's first solo. (Discover more.)
High-end headsets, with brands like Bose, Sennheiser and Lightspeed, are pushing the envelope of what's possible in the realm of headgear.
X-Plane is the flight simulation program of choice this year. It's starting to edge out Microsoft Flight Simulator and Flight Sim X for the number one slot in flight simulation. The program is reportedly more realistic with some higher end features.
The Cessna 162 Skycatcher tops the trends list for best-selling general aviation aircraft in 2011. Additionally, the Cessna Aircraft Company led the small plane manufacturing field having the greatest number, at 689, of general aviation aircraft constructed and sold in 2011. (Numbers based on General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Federal Aviation Administration and the General Aviation Market Trends, Data and Stats 2000 to 2011 via Business Air Craft Center)
But older planes are also coming back. The Legend Club is on General Aviation News's list of airplanes because they "seem to be more in vogue than ever before."
iPads in the cockpit. Some argue that this trend is now, more or less, institutionalized. Sporty's President Michael Wolf told General Aviation News that he's planning to bump the iPad from the trends list and "move them into the here-to-stay column." Wolf says, "... iPads have changed the way we fly, and until the next new thing comes along ... iPads will remain a routine part of flight planning and flight management." In 2012 the iPad mini seems to be the favorite.
Webinars will join iPads on the list of things that were formerly trends, but are now destined for bigger things. Wolf says webinars are "no longer revolutionary." Adding, "... online learning, whether as an ongoing course or a one-time seminar, is here to stay" for both established pilots and those training to be so. (Read more)
Did we miss something here? Let us know in the comments section. We'll point fingers at each other from across the newsroom.