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9 Things That Changed General Aviation Forever

For better or worse, general aviation will never be the same because of these 9 things.

1) ADS-B

We're in the middle of a big change. With traffic alerts and ADS-B out mandated by the FAA on aircraft by January 1, 2020, companies like Appareo, Freeflight and BendixKing are developing affordable options for general aviation pilots. The mandate has created quite the controversy, with many pilots unhappy about being forced to install new, expensive equipment on their privately owned aircraft.

Matthew Piatt

2) General Aviation Revitalization Act Of 1994

Following passage of the GARA, U.S. general aviation aircraft production, in units, roughly doubled in five years, but still remained far below the 1970s production quantities. The General Accounting Office of the U.S. Congress estimated, after GARA's passage, that 25,000 new jobs had been created, exactly the quantity predicted at the hearings.

Jim Raeder

3) Fuel Prices

Aviation fuel prices today are almost incomparable to those found decades ago. The $100 hamburger trip of yesterday is more like $300 today!


4) Electronic Flight Computer

Remember that whiz wheel E6B flight computer? They've been replaced for many pilots by handheld computers that handle the same equations.


5) GPS

Gone are the days of using victor airways to fly a route between VORs. With GPS, pilots can fly a direct route to nearly anywhere in the world.

Swayne Martin

6) TFRs

Prior to September 11th, 2001, temporary flight restrictions were found few and far between. Now, you can find them covering events ranging from a visit by POTUS to a sports game.

FAA / Skyvector

7) Light Sport Aircraft

LSAs are a great alternative to conventional, heavier aircraft for pilots who want a smaller, lighter, less costly way to get involved in general aviation. And with an LSA like the new amphibious Icon A5 fitting onto a trailer, you can take it all around the country on a road trip.


8) Composite Aircraft

With manufacturers like Cirrus growing and becoming a huge part of the aviation market, airplanes using composite materials are now common. And many of the new aircraft interiors you'll find on a ramp look more like a sports car than a traditional airplane.

Swayne Martin

9) Electronic Flight Bags

Be it ForeFlight, Garmin Pilot, or any number of other applications, the world of aerial navigation is now available at your fingertips through a tablet or smartphone.

Swayne Martin

What else changed general aviation? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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