You may think of the 1980s movie Airplane! as the main driver of pilotless aircraft. In fact, inventors have been working on the problem since the start of powered flight. An aircraft autopilot was first demonstrated by the Sperry Corporation (now part of Honeywell) in June 1914 at an air show in Paris.

Lawrence Sperry flew a Curtis C-2 flying boat alongside a grandstand of spectators. The first time he flew past he had his hands high in the air to show he was not touching any controls. On the second approach his assistant climbed onto the wing to destabilise the aircraft – fortunately, the gyroscope worked. The final time the aircraft flew past the crowd, Sperry was on the other wing.

Now, more than 100 years later, fully autonomous passenger aircraft are nearly here. Probably five years away. In our cover story we talk to the people leading and financing this revolution.

The judging panel of the prestigious Robert J Collier Trophy – established in 1911 by the Aero Club of America – is also excited about autonomy and in June awarded Garmin Autoland the 2020 prize. It is now available on three aircraft and other announcements are due soon.

Returning to Sperry’s Air Show, we are all looking forward to meeting up soon at NBAA-BACE and Corporate Jet Investor Miami. Full autonomy may be coming close, but nothing beats human interaction.

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Aircraft Family: Constructing the future – Jerry Holland built FBO firm Sheltair from a construction company. It now contains three family generations.

Day in the Life: Janine Iannarelli – President and founder of Par Avion credits her equestrian training with helping her to jump hurdles in business aircraft sales.


First look: Beechcraft Bonanza G36 – The world’s longest continuously produced aircraft has received a 21st century makeover with new Garmin Avionics.

Jet Data: Your handy buyers’ guide to all the key performance metrics of leading makes of business jets.


Autonomy takes off: Autonomous aviation promises to revolutionise our world. But when will we see lift off for this exciting set of new aviation technologies?


Picture this – Hill Helicopter’s new HX50 plus Dassault Aviation’s Falcon 10X largest cabin in its class.

Garmin Autoland – The world’s first certified autonomous system, at the touch of a button, can fly and land without the need for human intervention of any kind.


Mapping SAF supplies: We chart global supplies – And probe the question of what is preventing full uptake?

Planet 9 in profile – Stellar growth is on the horizon for this on-demand and charter company, according to its founders.

Hamish Harding’s Deep Dive – How the Action Aviation chairman dived to the deepest part of the world’s oceans and broke two world records on the 12-hour mission.

Our next events

Corporate Jet Investor Miami 2021

November 2nd & 3rd 2021

Fontainebleau, Miami Beach

Corporate Jet Investor Asia 2021

December 1st & 2nd 2021

Grand Hyatt Singapore

Corporate Jet Investor London 2022

January 31st & February 1st 2022

The Landmark London

Please email [email protected] to register or if you would like more information.