In my last article, I discussed how, over time, technological advancements are adopted as normal equipment for a certain aircraft and its fleet. Once an upgrade or piece of equipment receives widespread adoption, the lack thereof puts your aircraft at a disadvantage when it comes time to sell. For part II of this article, I’d like you to ponder what happens when it’s not social norms that dictate aircraft requirements, but rather government mandate. The hard truth is that new regulations, although often necessary, come at a cost to the aircraft owner with very little leeway. Furthermore, when it comes to government mandates in aviation, it’s not always an added equipment requirement. The future may see global governments take a closer look at what your aircraft is producing that could play a larger role in your aircraft’s operation.
Over the years, we have seen the FAA institute many new required equipment improvements. These requirements are mainly for the advancement of safety and productivity for the national airspace system. One particular example was RVSM in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. As the airspace between FL-290 and FL-410 became more and more congested, the FAA reduced the vertical separation requirements allowing for more aircraft in the same airspace. Just like most new regulations, this required new equipment to be installed on your aircraft at a cost to the aircraft owner. Unlike a “nice to have” aircraft feature, this requirement was mandatory if the aircraft owner intended to operate their jet aircraft to its full potential.
In some instances, these regulations have been the last nail in the coffin for a few aging aircraft types. Long gone are the days when an FBO ramp would be filled with 20 series Learjet’s, Saberliners, or even Boeing 727’s. A good argument could be made that a lack of efficiency killed most of these, however, FAA reduced crew requirements, noise reduction mandates, and avionics obligations all played a role. As I have mentioned in the past, no aircraft type is destined to last forever, and as regulatory requirements add up over the years it becomes too much for some older aircraft types. Fortunately, as technology advances rapidly, aircraft manufacturers now build aircraft with forward looking technology and future regulations in mind.
The depth of what may or may not come out of Washington D.C. in the coming years or decades is yet to be seen. It is fairly certain that avionics advancements, ATC interfacing, and propulsion technology will lead the way. However, it is not always the addition of a piece of hardware that keeps an aircraft owner in compliance with regulations. Whether you agree or disagree, the future regulatory landscape is sure to encompass some sort of carbon emissions penalty or offset requirement. Year after year our industry takes one step closer to regulations directed at the carbon emissions of our aircraft. Be that as it may, just like with past regulations, these new requirements (whatever they may be) will be complied with in the most cost-effective manner and our industry will continue to advance and prosper. Although the future of government regulation is sure to throw a few curveballs, keeping yourself and your aircraft updated on current trends and consistent with fleet norms will help mitigate any future regulatory changes.
Those who know Ryan know his longtime passion for planes. As a matter of fact, Ryan soloed his first aircraft before receiving his driver’s license at age 16. Today, he holds multiple jet type ratings (LRJET, CL604 and B737) and is responsible for aircraft sales, brokerage, acquisitions, market analysis, data research and special projects. Ryan puts client needs first, always respecting time and understanding the importance of investments. Outside the world of aviation, Ryan enjoys spending time with his wife and two children. He also enjoys heading out to the golf course as often as possible.
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