FAA Bullish on Long-term GA Prospects

If you can just hang in there until 2030, the general aviation fleet will have grown by approximately 50,000 aircraft and 52,000 pilots, according to the FAA's latest long-term forecast. But don't expect much of that growth in the piston fleet. The agency's crystal ball calls for just 0.1 percent growth in the piston fleet in that time frame, compared with an expected 3.1 percent for turbine aircraft and 2.8 percent for helicopters. The FAA expects a surge of Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) buying — 800 per year through 2013, then a leveling off to sales of approximately 335 per year through the rest of the forecast period. Hours flown are expected to expand at a rate of 2.5 percent per year, stretching from 23.3 million in 2009 to an estimated 38.9 million in 2030 — all numbers supporting the development of NextGen air traffic technology, according to FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.