I just finished watching the show. It was pretty interesting. The one thing I saw that I am wondering about came towards the end. They were interviewing Rutan and some people from NASA talking about the future. The general consensus seems to be that flying is going to go away from the majors and the hub and spoke system. They see the future in the new technology such as the Eclipse jet being used as a taxi type plane from small airports. According to their prognostication, the system as it is now will be completely different in 10-20 years.
They also had the fracs on there and they seem to have the same view. Anyway, as a guy who always dreamed of that job in the left seat of a heavy I would like to hear other peoples opinion. What do you think the future holds? Hopefully this will turn out to be a good topic.
Aviation/flying/airlines will turn out to be like every other major technological development mankind has ever produced. It is only a matter of time until we undergo another major makeover, similar to the dawn of the jet era in the early 60's, and life as we know it will never be the same. The concepts Rutan talked about in that show (which was pretty good) are about as far-fetched as a world of computers linked on a common network with a free exchange of information. Try selling that 50 years ago when computers were the size of rooms and had less memory than a palm pilot. The jets being built today are little more than small improvements of already proven designs that only take us a few small steps into the future. I think a GV and a 777, for example, are marvelous aircraft that the Wright Brothers never dreamed of. However, the same 'ol same 'ol is just not our style as an industrial society. Rutan and others like him are going to stumble on the the next generation of air travel in the coming years and the next evolution is going to occur. I don't think it will happen soon enough for me to be a major part of it, but I hope I'm still alive to see it. GODSPEED..........
The AGATE program is nice that NASA makes but I see some problems with it, whos going to make the descion of weather or not the person can fly today. These days its the PIC but currently PIC are (at least in theory) supposed to be able to get a weather breifing, and make a GO, NO GO descion. But in the future if every joe has a plane do you think they are really going to look at the weather?
I believe that in a few years it is going to be more like taxis, weathers not so good, want to go see Grandma in Florida. Well hop on the GV and off you go. Unfornately for you guys the only real use for airlines would probally transcontiental and transoceanic.
I haven't seen the program yet. So some of this may be redundant. Hopefully my neighbor will record it on the repeat.
I believe that the key to the end of the hub and spoke system is the single pilot jet, (okay two keys) and more efficient, simpler jet engines. Lears and Citations are never going to be viable competition for the 737 and 757 sized transports, as long as it takes two people to operate them, and $10 million to buy them.
I believe the Eclipse Jet, if it succeeds, is the first baby step in this direction. It could end up being the answer for most trips between 200 and 1,000 miles. Eclipse has going for it, the fact that it started as an idea for an engine looking for an application. That's the way the microcomputer revolution started thirty odd years ago. Eclispe isn't the only player, either. the safire jet is also in the works.