(CNN)Inside a hangar in the San Francisco Bay Area, a young French entrepreneur is busy readying a small, odd-looking, bubble-shaped aircraft.
Not far away, on the way to Sacramento, less than 100 miles away, another start-up is rolling out the first serially produced units of a new concept of amphibious foldable aircraft so compact they can be kept in a standard car garage.
Further north, in the mountains of Idaho, inventor and aviation legend Burt Rutan is preparing to fly to distant lands on the latest of his creations, a weird-looking seaplane with retractable skis, powered by a single roof-mounted propeller.
These planes are all part of a new generation of groundbreaking light (or small) aircraft models aiming to disrupt an industry that hasn't changed much in decades.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration defines "small" (also called "light") aircraft as "an aircraft of 12,500 pounds or less maximum certificated takeoff weight." (Depending on the category, according to the FAA, small airplanes can reach up to 19,000 pounds maximum takeoff weight.)
The Cobalt Valkyrie-X