FAA Forecasts Rocky Road For GA

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In its annual aviation forecast, released last week, the FAA said it expects the numbers of active general aviation aircraft to continue to decline slowly, but by 2025 the numbers should start to gradually increase. "Although the slow growth and expectations of a European recession has dampened the near-term prospects for general aviation, the long-term outlook remains favorable," the FAA said in its report. Business aviation is expected to grow faster, driven by a growing U.S. and world economy, and turboprops and jets will fare better than piston aircraft, with continuing growth of about 3 to 4 percent per year. The outlook is also good for light sport aircraft. The LSA fleet should grow about 4 percent per year until 2013, then increase about 2 percent yearly until 2032, the FAA said. The numbers of GA pilots and sport pilots also should continue to grow, but slowly, the FAA said.

Cargo and airline traffic is expected to continue worldwide growth, with one billion passengers per year flying in the U.S. by 2024. Unmanned aircraft systems are expected to develop rapidly. "Based upon the expected regulatory environment, FAA predicts roughly 10,000 active commercial UASs in five years," according to the report. The full report is posted online.