2018 FLYING INNOVATION AWARD
VISION JET WINS BIG IN 2018
When we polled readers on social media about which of five nominees they thought should win this year’s Flying Innovation Award, the response was nearly unanimous. In fact, not only did our audience predict we would bestow this year’s award on Cirrus for the SF50 Vision Jet, readers told us we’d be crazy if we gave it to anyone else.
So much for feigned suspense. Congratulations, Cirrus, for taking home the Innovation Award trophy in late July. We announced the selection at the annual Flying party at Oshkosh, where it must have seemed like a bit of a fait
accompli even to those who were there. The prize is but one in a long list of accolades for the little jet that could, and I was personally honored to be able to heap more praise on an airplane that truly defines innovation in aviation.
The competition the Vision Jet faced included several other noteworthy products, each of them handpicked from our annual list of Flying Editors’ Choice Award winners. The list included Garmin’s G1000 NXi avionics system, the Mooney Ovation Ultra, ForeFlight’s Scout portable ADS-B receiver and the Lightspeed Zulu 3 headset. In any other year, another of these products might have nabbed the Innovation Award trophy, but in a competition against the world’s first single-engine personal jet (and the first jet with a parachute), it was an obvious choice for the editorial team at Flying.
We’d also be remiss if we suddenly snubbed the Vision Jet considering all the other accolades it has received since it entered the market, including the 2018 Collier Trophy. First awarded in 1911, the Collier prize is generally considered to be the most prestigious in aviation. Our mission with the Flying Innovation Award is somewhat similar to that of the Collier selection committee’s, but where the Collier Trophy is bestowed on “the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America” during the previous year, the Flying Innovation Award is simultaneously broader and narrower in scope in that it recognizes the top achievement in all of general and business aviation across the entire globe.
The first two Innovation Awards have been home runs, with the Vision Jet and last year’s inaugural winner, the HondaJet. Next year’s competition will be a true dogfight, with several new airplanes and aviation products already emerging as strong contenders. We’re excited to embark on the selection process.
Who knows, maybe someday we’ll be handing over the Innovation Award trophy to representatives from Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce or Uber for some futuristic VTOL flying car. In the here and now, we’re content to choose from a readily expanding pool of fascinating aviation products developed for a market that is at the forefront of technological innovation.
Who will take home the 2019 Innovation Award? Tune in next year to find out.