As is customary each year end, it’s time to take stock ! In the aviation world, 2014 was marked by both good and bad news. Here’s an accelerated flashback in two minutes flat.
We begin this "Year of the Drone" with these flying machines, which we saw at work over France during the floods, above railway tracks, in vineyards, in a UK maintenance hangar, alongside the Miami police, and even in Germany and Australia in the process of delivering packages. In short, this year, we have seen drones flying everywhere, even over French nuclear power plants.
2014 was marred by disasters that marked the hearts and minds of people around the world ; the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which vanished ; the MH17 shot down over Ukraine, and the crash of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo in the Californian desert.
Concerning aircraft manufacturers, Airbus had cold sweats over their A350 - literally – but in the end delivered the first unit to Qatar Airways. This year saw the manufacturer also enter the ‘‘neo’’ era. The A320neo made its first flight, followed by the launches of the A330neo, and "Beluga neo".
Boeing in turn brought out a six-metre (20 feet) extended version of their Dreamliner. Following the 787-9’s certification, the initial units were delivered to their first customer airlines. The 737MAX also went into production this year.
Bombardier has continued, as best they could, testing their CS100, and the first CS300 prototype has rolled off the production lines.
For some airlines, 2014 has been a year of refurbishing interiors; Etihad, Air France, Qatar and Lufthansa, each presented new seats and cabins in their strive to offer more passenger comfort.
More good news is that the sector continues to recruit more and more worldwide ; an indication that the aircraft industry knows no crisis.
And then, there were also some nice surprises such as the Jet Ranger 505, the EC645T2, the Learjet 85, and Daher-Socata TBM900, which first took to the air in 2014. Others like the Dassault Aviation Falcon 8X, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, and the Gulfstream G500 appeared.
Finally some unusual news punctuated the year :- this Austrian motorcycle-cum-gyrocopter was put on the market ; another Austrian, Mr Muscle himself, pulled this airliner by sheer human muscle power ; the spectacular derailment of a train carrying fuselage sections ; and the strange ‘‘White Bird’’ that came to rest on the rooftops of Paris.
Can’t wait for 2015, just around the corner !