Sporty’s officials report that by studying the company’s sales history, they can spot trends in general aviation early. So what do Sporty’s officials expect to see going into 2010?
Pilots are flying “smarter,” which means less. But they still want to stay current, so they’re getting more interested in continuous home learning. If they can’t fly regularly, they can at least keep their head in the game. That’s why Sporty’s is doing more DVD and online refresher training than ever, including multiple titles with FAA WINGS credit.
Touch screen GPS are here and for real. People are used to their iPhones and car GPS, and they love them. The move to aviation touch screens has been welcomed with open arms, as evidenced by the Garmin aera and Bendix/King AV8OR lines. Knob turning and button pushing may even be a thing of the past in new glass cockpits.
Pilots are getting picky about their flight bags. One size doesn’t fit all, or even most, anymore. Like so many consumer goods, everybody wants to have the perfect setup for them, with just the right size or style, plus accessories ranging from cell phone holders to water bottles.
Flight simulators are no longer just games. Pilots are turning to home simulators with more sophisticated accessories and options than ever to make home flying surprisingly realistic.
Personal Locator Beacons are going mainstream. As prices have dropped 40% in the past few years, more and more pilots are appreciating the value of these life-saving devices. They are now part and parcel of a pilot’s basic survival equipment.
Avionics training has never been more important. Steam gauges are definitely not dead — in fact, most pilots flying today have never flown glass. But that doesn’t mean avionics isn’t important. While pilots have always honed their skills, even experienced pilots have to make much more of an effort to keep up with new technology and new avionics. In fact, avionics is now as important, if not more, to check out in than the actual airplane.
Demand is high for online video. Seems obvious, but worth stating, Sporty’s official said, noting sales of downloads and streaming video courses continues unabated, with pilots valuing the portability and convenience of watching video on their iPhone or laptop. DVDs aren’t going away anytime soon, but look for more innovations online for 2010.
For more information: Sportys.com or 800-SPORTYS.