Air still moves over wings in pretty much the same way that it did before EASA...
Probably not if EASA has its way...
Anyway, what I was trying to say (with just a light touch of sarcasm intended) is that the era we live in now is probably one of the three or four eras that sees the biggest change in GA in its past 100 years.
First era, just after the Wright Brothers first flew a powered aircraft.
Second and third era, WWI and WWII, plus the decade just after WWII.
Between about 1960 and about 1995, nothing much happened to GA, except in some unregulated domains such as gliding and experimentals: By about 1995-ish most of GA was still flying spamcans designed in the 1960, behind engines designed in the 1950s. And then a whole load of stuff happened, and is still happening, in a very short period of time.
- New airframes, made possible because of better computers (CFD) and the advent of composite materials. Lead by Diamond and Cirrus, but now a whole generation of new VLAs as well.
- New engine tech. The Rotax 912 and its successors, Thielert/Centurion, SMA and god knows what else is on the drawing boards. No more leaning, for starters. In its wake, new fuels used in GA: Jet-A, mogas, UL91. And in the future perhaps electric engines or hydrogen. Who knows?
- GPS!!! Starting with waypoint-only GPSs around the turn of the century we now have full moving map GPSs with full flight planning capabilities for a price equal to maybe three hours flying. SkyDemon being the ultimate example of this, but let's also mention the Garmin range, the Aware tool, PocketFMS and Air Nav Pro. Pretty soon (in the US: today) you can fly precision instrument approaches with GPS alone. (Side effect: Retirement of old navaids. NDBs today, maybe VOR and DME tomorrow?)
- Glass cockpits. Due to advances in chip technology, screen technology and some other things, glass cockpits have now become within reach of GA. Both in CofA aircraft (Garmin, Avidyne) and experimentals (Dynon). A lot of new GA aircraft are now flying with better equipped panels than all but the latest airliners.
- JAR-FCL and EASA (and the EU in general, and the Schengen agreement) making major changes to all legislative aspects of aviation. Most obvious for pilots is part-FCL and part-MED, but we've only recently finished the whole part-M thing, and EASA is working on part-OPS as well (although that's less relevant to us).
- Internet! Making a lot of flight planning tasks (submitting flight plans, accessing pre-flight information) incredibly easy. NOTAMs is no longer a big stack of papers pinned to the wall in the briefing room which everybody ignores, but convenient circles drawn on a moving map. Instead of trusting the Met Office 414/415 forms we now use multiple sources to second-guess them. Submitting a flight plan is a few mouse clicks instead of faxing a form to somewhere and hoping for the best. Heck, more and more discussions pop up about the best way to get in-flight internet. Not for entertainment, but for actual flight planning/execution purposes.
Those are just the major changes I can think of. Then there's the usual minor stuff like I mentioned. Changes to weather reporting, ATSOCAS services and so forth.
Now I agree that not all of this is necessarily going to have an impact on PPL training, but it definitely has had, and will have, an effect on PPL flying. (And that, in itself, is probably an indication that the PPL syllabus needs to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century instead of staying stuck in the 1970s. But that's another discussion.)
So if somebody asks:
does anyone know if things have changed that much?
forgive me for a little light-hearted sarcasm. There have never been more changes to GA and PPL flying than in the last 10 years or so.
Now about your PPL books. I don't know exactly how old these books are, but I'm pretty sure your friend has no clue whatsoever what has changed since the release of your set of books. He is, after all, a student. So are you going to vet your books beforehand, pointing out all the things that have changed so that he can go somewhere else to find the up to date information? Or are you going to recommend that, for a price which is a mere fraction of what he's going to spend on his PPL, he gets an up to date set of books?
In other words: "Penny wise, pound foolish", or accepting that a PPL is going to cost money?