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2016: A look back.

This will be my final blog before we all break for the holidays, and before we strike up a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, I’d like to take a quick look back at what I think were some of the biggest aviation-related happenings of 2016.

All in all it was a pretty good year – from a business and general aviation perspective at least and one of the biggest winners of the year was the EAA’s Oshkosh AirVenture 2016 event. Well over a half-million people and, it seemed like as many airplanes converged on Wittman Regional Airport. For that one week, Oshkosh was literally the gathering place for the “who’s who” of anything aviation. If you missed it last year, don’t miss it in 2017.

While all the airplanes and the incredible airshow are the two big draws at AirVenture, personally I think that the show received an added boost from the FAA passing the much-anticipated, (and long overdue) 3rd Class Medical Reform.

From what I was hearing from the many people who I’ve spoken with since, the President’s signing of the reform is hopefully going to be the proverbial “shot-in-the-arm” that will help get a lot of inactive pilots back in the cockpit. That’s good news no matter how you look at it.

Another bit of good news was the announcement that student pilot starts were up in 2015. And while the numbers aren’t in for 2016, everyone I talk to feels – or at least optimistic – that the upward trend has continued through this year.

On a personal note, Genesys Aerosystems had its share of good news in 2016, including the company celebrating its second “birthday.” As we like to say around here, “We’re a two-year-old company with nearly 40-years of experience.”

2016 also marked the 36-year anniversary of the FAA certifying the first S-TEC autopilot in a Beechcraft V-35. Today, we have over 1,500 autopilot STCs and have delivered over 40,000 autopilots.

One more thing before I stop tooting the Genesys horn: We recently equipped the entire fleet of Air Medical Group Holdings (AMGH) – 200 EMS helicopters – with our HeliSAS stability augmentation system. Having our products improve the safety of pilots and their passengers is something we never get tired of celebrating.

Unfortunately, aviation and society suffered the loss of two of our greatest heroes: This year saw both Robert A. “Bob” Hoover and John Glenn go west. God speed to both them and everyone else we said goodbye to this year.

So, my friends, that’s 2016 in a nutshell. Until we chat again – safe travels and our best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and an even better 2017.


Until next year,