From a military standpoint, it may turn out to be the advancement and widespread use of UAV's. As they become more sophisticated, the "fighter pilot" becomes that much closer to being an endangered species. Much to my chagrin, UAVs are slowly changing the future of aerial warfare.
From an overall aviation standpoint, solving the sound-barrier proved to be a major hurdle. Many aerodynamic issues became better understood as a result of this accomplishment.
I'd say the jet-engine but it was effectively implemented as a WWII invention. However, the widespread use of the jet engine in passenger aircraft (i.e. 707) for commercial travel certainly is one of the most significant contributions to aviation in the last half century.
Satellites must be a top item as well for the advancements they provided to navigation - GPS (ease of use, accuracy) - as well as actual terrain and weather mapping. It's impact on understanding weather is huge and should not be understated. They also add to communications.