Personal aircraft are typically slow to evolve, as manufacturers must work through long, complex procedures of gaining official approval for new technologies and designs from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). But that is changing fast, as recent FAA rules that took effect in August are making it easier to certify new designs, and companies are eager to bring fresh ideas to the market.
The new rules are “nothing less than a total rethinking of how our industry can bring new models of pistons, diesels, turboprops, light jets, and new electric- and hybrid-propulsion airplanes to market,” says Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
The changes are also making it easier for manufacturers to provide safety-enhancing modifications and upgrades to their existing fleets. “The rules reduce the time, cost, and risk involved in certification,” Bunce says, “while improving safety for customers.”
Though not all a result of the simplified FAA regulations, the following are a few of the exciting new designs in the personal-aircraft market.