General Aviation has seen some rocky years since 9-11, as it spun into a financial disaster for many Fixed Based Operators. Much of this was media induced, as general aviation had little to do with the International Terrorists attacks on that fateful day. Most of the collapse came from government over regulation and mass media hysteria calling for more laws in the general aviation sector. But even so General Aviation was not breaking any speed records prior to that due to high fuel costs, nothing like today, but high never the less and liability insurance costs due to outrageous litigation costs and kangaroo court awards. Typically a small aircraft has over $ 75,000 built into the cost purely so the manufacture can maintain a defense fund to fight finished products liability costs when a small aircraft crashes and generally it is due to pilot error and not the aircraft itself.
As 2006 gets underway the General Aviation Aircraft Maker Market is looking good with new light small jets being made for a fraction of what a jet aircraft would normally cost and thus tapping into another market for small and medium sized Businesses to have a corporate aircraft. Additionally after 9-11 the FAA reduced barriers to entry for Fractional Jet Ownership, thus boosting that sector of General Aviation. Currently most of Wichita, KS is back to work and smaller start-up companies are opening up in other areas as these new small Business jets get FAA Certification, many of which have 100s of advanced orders. One issue is that India and China's small light single engine aircraft manufacturers are coming online and are going to increase competition for US light aircraft manufacturers here and abroad and this trend will continue to be an issue in 2006, but most likely become a very big issue by 2008.
Fuel costs for General Aviation have always been of concern and this will prompt more EAA or Experimental Aviation Association aircraft on the scene, many of which have kits to use automotive fuels instead. Some ethanol is also being used in some states now for general aviation users. As NASA continues its work to make general aviation safer, more efficient and cost effective through its SATS Program, we will see a re-emergence of popularity in General Aviation back to its height of acceptance. Additionally we are seeing a longer range trend for Vertical Take Off and Landing or VTOL personal aircraft come to the market by 2010, as a "flying car" has been promised but has yet to be produced. General Aviation has always been a better place to spend lots of money than make lots of money. Many FBO's hope that they are over that hump now and are looking towards brighter skies and we all hope that government will stop the insanity of bureaucracy and over regulation so that this sector will fly again. Think on it.