At any one time, the skies are buzzing with activity — air traffic measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometers has grown 85% in the past 15 years and Airbus’s Global Market Forecast 2015 predicts it will grow 145% by 2034.
The air traveler of today has a wide spread of frequencies, connections and types of service available to them — but there’s one area where choice has narrowed.
Growing consolidation in the aircraft manufacturing industry, driven by its huge capital requirements and massive economies of scale, means we’re flying in an increasingly narrower range of airliner types.
While there’s much to admire in the most recent aircraft models, those looking for unconventional flying experiences will have to try harder.
Here, in part one of our selection of iconic aircraft today’s aviation enthusiast may still be able to fly in, are 20 of our favorite planes from the last 50 years.
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter
First flight: 1965
Often used as a commuter aircraft providing service to small communities, the Twin Otter is a small, solid aircraft that’s nevertheless capable of the most incredible landings.
For example, it provides service to the Caribbean island of Saba — which has the shortest commercial landing strip in the world — as well as nearby Saint Barts, where pilots must undergo special training before they’re permitted to land.
Flying into any of these airports on a DHC-6 is an experience no aviation enthusiast will want to miss.