As I find myself completing my first issue of the magazine I can’t help but think back to my younger days. When I entered the aviation industry, the world was on the cusp of
what was dubbed ‘The VLJ Revolution.’ It was the start of a new millennium and the advent of the sub‐million dollar Very Light Jet. It seemed that every man and his dog had a scheme to create an affordable, economical and easy‐to‐fly jet and I would report on companies touting the best innovation since Orville
and Wilbur gave up on bicycles.
Of those, a small number built a flying prototype and fewer still managed to get their inventions as far as production. Fast forward 20 years and while there are a number of VLJs in service the majority fell by the wayside. You could say that the metaphorical wheat had been sorted from the chaff.
Two decades later, as I compiled this issue, I was struck by the number of companies offering a future of supersonic travel, ‘green’ powerplants or the much‐promised flying car. However, we are already at the stage where NASA is preparing its X‐59 QuietSuperSonic Technology (QueSST) demonstrator and the quest for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) is attracting huge investment at both corporate and government level. The electric Vertical Take Off & Landing (eVTOL) craft of the future are already flying and, while their autonomous operation is some way away, many are predicting they could be in regular ‘manned’ service within the next few years. Those advances in eVTOL have driven the development of electric and hybrid‐electric powertrains with associated improvements in battery technology and development of hydrogen fuel cells. We are already at the stage where the grains of wheat are beginning to separate – and when giants like Airbus and Rolls‐Royce invest in eVTOLs you must assume they’re confident of a return on their shareholder’s money.
So, what does this have to do with cabins you may ask? Well, regardless of whether it’s a fuel‐efficient airliner, a supersonic bizjet or an electric‐powered flying cab, the manufacturers will have evolving needs for a new generation of cabin infrastructure. It might be radical, lightweight or luxurious but this new era
calls for innovation at every level. Millions of pounds, dollars and euros are being invested in new businesses that have entered this market and in years to come – when we have to choose whether to travel to the next meeting in an eVTOL with a ‘relaxation pod’, an ‘office pod’ or maybe even a ‘party pod’ – we can look back at how we helped form part of what governments are dubbing the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed producing my first issue but I’m very conscious
that this is ‘your’ magazine. As such, I’m keen to hear from you; to learn more about your area of the industry and discover what factors and issues are important to you and your business. You’ll find my e‐mail address below and I pride myself in responding to all correspondence.
Until next time, blue skies and tailwinds.