International Civil Aviation Day
International Civil Aviation Day takes place on the 7th of December, the purpose of which is described on their UN observances page as a day that will help to, “…generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation to the social and economic development of States, and of the unique role of ICAO in helping States to cooperate and realize a truly global rapid transit network at the service of all mankind.”
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and as a UN organisation they see themselves as a way to “build bridges across our skies” through a series of laws that were agreed by participating member countries during what was known as the Chicago Convention, an agreement that was signed on December the 7th 1944.
As times have changed, so too has the agreement, with 8 amendments in total, the last one coming in 2006. The rules put in place established concepts such as national and international airspace, movement between those spaces, the condition of aircraft and the qualifications needed to become a pilot. As of today there are 193 countries who are signed up members of the ICAO.
More than 10 million passengers, on over 100,000 flights take to the skies every single day. This means that every year more than 3 and a half billion passengers, that’s just under half the planet’s entire population, board an aircraft.
To make all of this run as smoothly as is possible over 62 million people work within the aviation industry, to help generate nearly 3 trillion dollars each year.
The Future of Flight?
With a quickly expanding population, our reliance on aviation will only increase and with that will come certain obstacles that will need to be traversed. It is estimated that by the 2030s, the number of daily passengers will double to 200,000, meaning that the workforce will need to increase, the number of aircraft will need to increase and the emissions released by them will need to be dramatically reduced.
How exactly that will be achieved is something that no one currently has an answer to. One option could be electric planes. One such plane does exist, but it is small and is a long way from being able to carry the number of passengers your average commercial flight can handle. A switch to hydrogen could also be an option, but the technology to do so is a long way off, as is the infrastructure that would be needed.
Another possibility that I have seen punted online is the re-introduction of zeppelins. Again, the element of choice is likely to be hydrogen, given the increasing difficulties that we have extracting helium. However, almost 100 years on from the Hindenburg disaster and no one has forgotten the dangers that can arise when hydrogen is involved. Add to this slow speeds that they move at and you are unlikely to see the move towards lighter than air travel any time soon.
A more extreme solution, one that IVOC will want to avoid at all costs, could be flight rationing. This could mean that each of us is limited to the number of flights that we are allowed to take each year. How exactly this would be managed is almost as complicated as replacing a traditional combustion engine with one running on hydrogen and would obviously only ever be implemented as a worst case scenario.
The ICOA knows that the rapid growth in the earth’s population means that there will be even greater networks of people spread out across the planet and that the only way for those connections to remain physical will involve a reliance on air travel, meaning that curbing that movement would need to remain a last resort.
The ICOA have set a target for half of our current emissions from air travel by the year 2050, which means that all countries signed up will need to begin planning for that 30-year target soon. The short-term target is that we will not exceed 2020 emissions by the year 2035. In other words, despite an increase in those accessing air travel, the level of emissions needs to remain where it reaches next year and remain at that level come in the following 15 years.
For this to happen, change will need to start soon. Hydrogen, biofuels, electric, hybrid, and anything else that people far smarter than me can think of will need to be tried and tested if the targets outlined by the ICOA are to be reached.
Slots and Flying
To get our celebration for International Civil Aviation Day off the ground we have decided to take a look at the culture surrounding air travel through forms of flight depicted in some of our favourite video slots.
There will be a chance to explore the potential future of air travel, to get dewy-eyed and nostalgic about the past, to look at what forms of flight exist today and to tip-toe into ancient mythology where human flight only existed on the pages of books. There will be steampunk, science fiction, fantasy and even a little spattering of satire to bring the world of aviation to the reels.
In this Play ‘n’ Go slot from 2019 we pick up with the Hugo the Troll having dispensed with rail travel and retired from international football to become a fully-fledged adventurer. In the Hugo’s Adventure slot, our intrepid explorer takes to sky in an old-fashioned plane, fully equipped with propeller and water skies.
This edition to the Hugo franchise is the best of the bunch, scoring an impressive 9 out of 10 when it was released earlier on in the year. You hit the aeroplane during the Free Spins, during which you have a whole host of additional icons to look out for, some good and some bad. The bonus feature sees us leave the dizzying heights of air travel behind and drop to the depths of the ocean floor as Hugo swaps planes for submarines in a simple, but brilliantly designed click and pick game.
The Iron Girl slot takes flying to its natural conclusion by dispensing with all that inconvenient airport and other people stuff and imagining the future as one where you fly around thanks to your own amazing flying outfit. Undoubtably taking its inspiration from a certain Marvel character, Iron Girl takes a concept most of us will be familiar with and adds a spot of gender balance to proceedings by changing the man to a girl.
The slot looks as good as any Play ‘n’ Go slot you will have seen before and has, in fact, made its way onto a number of our lists before. Regardless of the theme, what we like about Iron Girl is the respins and the multipliers that come with them. We also liked the random feature that could see an increased number of wilds hitting the reels during any spin.
The Fortunium slot is a MicroGaming slot that has taken on the steampunk genre and just about everything you might associate with it. A blast from the past or a nod to the future; the paradoxical nature of a steampunk world that is both modern and old fashioned is perfectly exemplified by the inclusion of zeppelins with laser cannons attached to the side.
The slot comes with everything you might expect, from Free Spins and Wilds to Mystery Symbols and Booster Wins, this is a slot with something to keep everyone happy and your mode of air transport is one that could become a thing of the future.
Aladdin and the Sorcerer
The Aladdin and the Sorcerer slot is one of the most recent slots on this list. Released in November 2019, it is the only Pragmatic Play slot on the list but, as I will explain later, comes with everything that we have grown to love about their games over the years. In this instance you don’t need me to tell you how we fly. We all know the story, that Aladdin likes to get around on a magical flying carpet. That carpet might not appear in this slot directly, but this is my favourite Aladdin slot and as such I was willing to make an exception.It does, of course, like every Pragmatic Play slot that you have ever seen look stunning. Beautiful designs with those vibrant colours help to bring this slot to life. Aladdin and the Sorcerer do battle throughout and that concept helps to form basis for just about everything that goes on. You get respins that trigger in a unique way and you get Free Spins, but best of all (if you don’t count the design) is the house edge, which is offering excellent value for money.
Ticket to the Stars
The Ticket to the Stars slot is one that has made its way onto a number of out themed articles over the short period of time that it has been in existence. There’s a lot to like about this Quickspin game, from the overall concept, one in which we take our holidays in the far-flung regions of the solar system, to the exceptional quality of the slot’s design. There is little not to like about this Jetsons inspired number.
The slot comes with Free Spins and those Free Spins comes with a multiplier, you get Wilds and you get tumbles that have been described here as Swooping Reels; the concept remains the same, in that every win will seeing the contributing symbols disappear and new ones added in their place, meaning you can win multiple times on a single spin.
textThe Agent Valkyrie slot is one of the few 2BY2 Gaming slots to make it onto any of our lists. This is in art down to the fact that there just are not that many 2BY2 Gaming slots out there in the first place. This one takes us back to a time when only a select few could experience flight and those that did were heroes. In this game we are back in the 2nd World War, you are flying a Spitfire, you are taking on bad guys and you can form some attachment to the Valkyrie who would swoop into battle and decide who got live and who died.
This one comes with a lot of additional stuff. 3 different random features, 3 different Free Spins features, each one with a random features to keep it company. Add to this a Bonus feature and some Wilds and you have a load of things going on to keep you busy throughout your spins.
The Final Countdown
The Final Countdown slot makes an appearance two weeks out of the last three, and this time for the same and yet completely different reasons. The same reason is that it is an excellent slot (something I will go into in more detail in a minute) and the different reason is because Big Time Gaming took the themes from the famous song and used them to make a slot that is about flying to Venus.
When we come to discuss what we like about the slot we have to start with the song and the uncanny way the developers tie everything around it. You hear and you see it in full flow here. You get cloned reels and cloned Wilds. You get Free Spins and you get two different versions to choose from. Add to this, good value for money and you have a slot that ticks all of our boxes.
The Battlestar Galactica slot exemplifies a form of futuristic transport that I’m sure plenty of aviation enthusiasts would hope becomes a reality, just as long as we’re are not being pursued to the other end of the galaxy by robots we have built who are smarter, stronger and essentially much better at killing us than we are a killing them. A giant ocean liner that flies? Count us in please.
This MicroGaming slot was released in 2012 and despite being one of the oldest on the list is easily one of my favourites. You get Free Spins and Wilds, along with a Bonus feature. You also get 3 different modes that you can play in, each one offering a different random feature of sorts. You get a low house edge too and you get to fly in luxury (just don’t think about the end of humanity and you ‘ll be fine).
The Rocket Men slot is the biggest curve ball in video slot history. Red Tiger might release a lot of slots but only a few stick really strongly in the mind. For example, Pirates’ Plenty will be remembered for as long as people are playing slots because it is one of the all-time greats. Rocket Men is a good slot and it meets our brief because of the rockets and forms of aviation that rely on that particular form of technology. But in this instance Red Tiger were less interested in transportation of people and more interested in the transportation of nuclear weapons.
This slot takes a genuine dig at two of the world’s most infamous leaders and holds nothing back when landing those punches. This is unlike anything you will have seen before. For some people it will be offensive and for others it will be quite funny. For the sake of the actual slot I can tell you that get Wilds, Free Spins and quite a few random features, meaning that you get all sorts of entertainment with this one.
OK, so the Flight Zone slot is about as old as it is possible for a slot to be. And, I appreciate that finding it anywhere in a casino is likely to be a tough ask. Also, it hasn’t aged all that well. So why am I including it? Well, of all the slots on this list I do not believe there is one that hits the brief quite as well as this one does.
The features are actually pretty good. You get Free Spins and a Bonus that has 2 different missions in it. You also get Wilds that can come stacked and you have an excellent house edge that is offering great value for money.
I appreciate it is old and there are more modern slots that could have filled this space, but with 3 types of aircraft on the reels, what better slot to meet the brief than this?
There might be a few slots on this list that can’t hold a candle to some of the lists that we’ve produced in the past but I like the fact that there are some slots on here that I doubt you will have seen before. I also like the fact that this list comes with a serious amount of variety, with all sorts of magnificent men and women and their flying machines.
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