As opposed to other industries, like software engineering or IT, the aviation industry has fairly complex parameters. Consider the manufacturing of an aircraft: up to 3 million parts have to work in unison to ensure the efficiency of the plane and the safety of the passengers overboard.
The operation of the aircraft industry is similar to the clinical trials procedures in medicine. The certification process takes a lot of time and by the time the seal of approval is stamped, many of the IT based components of the new aircraft are already moderately outdated.
That being said, a lot of parallel research and development is being done in the manufacturing process and simulation. New turbine engines like the PT6 turbines from CTAerospace and other leading airplane engine suppliers are being implemented to improve the efficiency of air travel.
In some cases, the aviation industry has been stuck with old technology for the reasons of quality assurance. If an IT-related function goes wrong during the flight, hundreds of lives are endangered. Problems like these have stunted some IT innovation from seeping into futuristic projects.
However, some progressive figures in the industry are pushing for IT innovation without compromising on safety. This can be understood from the example of Bridget, which is a space vehicle being developed for a mission on Mars. The vehicle has been prepared with microprocessors from the 90s. The launch is expected to be in 2018, by which time the microprocessor’s age would, of course, be significantly dated. Scenarios like these demand revolution in the industry.
Another thing that has been tied with this surge for innovation is the concept of ‘shareconomy’. With the innovation coming from the IT side, people are more into consuming services instead of products. The IT industry has allowed the replacement of ownership with shared ownership.
Just last year, twin Falcon 20 became the first flight to run on biofuel. It attained a height of 30,000 feet. This shows a trend in the industry to opt for innovative measures. Some airlines are now using a combination of regular jet fuel and biofuel.
Some airlines like Delta have also adapted wireless IT technology into their flights. They’re introduced in-flight Wi-Fi technology and their passengers will also find USB ports and power devices on the flight so they can use their devices throughout the journey.
Tech upgrades are also underway for managing the air traffic control systems. This IT based solution relies on a prediction system that gives specific landing sites for planes based on the parameters of performance, traffic and weather. This method has already been put in place by Boeing Airlines and the results have been quite good.
By providing the optimum paths, airline companies can cut down on their fuel consumption and reduce their carbon footprint by reducing emissions.
All of this sets up a good precedent for more progressive development to be made in the aviation industry.
While many top professionals still believe that slow is the way to safety, the profit driven motive of the companies is driving this change. A lot can change in the aviation industry in the coming decade depending upon the strength of lobbying efforts.