– 2018 Aircraft of the Year

In the inaugural year for, we felt it necessary to celebrate the manufacturers and their design teams who are leading the way in aircraft development and innovation, taking us higher, faster, further and safer.


As the @aironeteam and contributing professionals rigorously assessed the available aircraft in today’s market it became apparent that there is a theme toward versatility whether in the form of increased range and speed or off-field and amphibious capabilities.


The demands on today’s aircraft have evolved and there are some legacy and several new OEM’s that have risen to meet such demands.


The assessment traversed many criteria from operations and ownership considering the perspective of the owners, crew and passengers, splitting the field into 6 broad categories. The criteria and categories are as follows;


  • In-production FAA certified aircraft,
  • Recent introduction of fuselage, cabin, avionics and performance innovations,
  • Ownership costs including direct operating and depreciation,
  • Residual value behaviour, based on demand and market fit,
  • Access to finance and insurance,
  • Crew opinion of performance in the field,
  • Buying experience and through life support,
  • Overall customer experience.


  • Large Jet (including mid and super-mid size jets, ranging from the Cessna Citation Sovereign+, Embraer Legacy 450 to the Bombardier Global 7500),
  • Light Jet (including VLJ, ranging from the Cirrus SF50 through to the Pilatus PC-24),
  • Turboprop (including single and twin-engine types ranging from the Piper M500 through to the Beechcraft King Air 350ER),
  • Helicopter (including Piston and Turbine helicopters, ranging from the Robinson R22 through to the Sikorsky S-92).
  • Piston Aircraft (including single and twin-engine aircraft, ranging from the Carbon Cub XCub through to the Beeccraft Baron G58).
  • Light Sport Aircraft (including LSA and SLSA aircraft, ranging from the Jabiru J250 through to the amphibious ICON A5).

The final results of the - 2018 Aircraft of the Year

With 250+ aircraft types and variants there could only be 5 winners, the top 2% of all aircraft currently in production, the leading edge of aviation’s 100-year history.


In many cases there were very thin lines separating the top 3 aircraft and it may have come down to the date of certification or the recency in which certain innovations were implemented into the variant that separated the winners from the runners up.


All of those OEM’s working hard to develop performance, safety, styling and comfort innovations are highly commended by the @aironeteam, as a company whom itself holds innovation for the benefit and enhancement of the aviation ecosystem at its core.


There is unanimous overall Aircraft of the Year winner, that defies the best efforts by all OEM’s, it sits in the experimental category, yes we know this is outside our own criteria, however it is simply impossible to ignore and is unlikely to surprise anyone who has not been living under a rock in 2018.


Photo: Courtesy of Cory Kittle Photography