OpenAirplane Announces New Service Making Renting Aircraft Easier, Helping Pilots Fly More

Published

CHICAGO, IL. April 17, 2012 – OpenAirplane will help pilots get more value out of their licenses, help aircraft rental operators get more business for their planes, and create a new experience in private aviation.

“OpenAirplane is the solution for pilots who want to fly away from their home bases without the hassle of a local checkout. The model has been broken for a long time and, together, we’re going to fix it,” explained co-founder Rod Rakic. “Together we can make private aviation safer and more useful than ever before. The painful truth for a pilot who rents planes is that his or her pilot license is effectively turned off any time he or she leaves  home base. Only with what amounts to half a day of hassle and usually hundreds of dollars in expense does a pilot regain his or her privileges by completing the dreaded ‘local checkout’ before becoming able to rent airplanes away from home. It’s time there was a better way to fly.”

OpenAirplane was developed to make the experience of renting airplanes across the country, or just across the airport, fundamentally better for pilots and the operators who rent to them. OpenAirplane offers pilots the opportunity to complete a single standardized checkout annually that’s specific to the make and model of aircraft they typically fly, OpenAirplane will allow pilots to access airplanes in a nationwide network.

Pilots will be able to find available planes by checking OpenAirplane on their mobile devices, tablets, or any desktop computer with Internet access. They’ll see what aircraft are available and how they are equipped and be able to check rental rates and make a booking request – all without needing to pick up the phone. Pilots signing up early will not pay a membership fee.

Fixed-Base Operators (FBOs) or flight schools that rent airplanes will get more business as more pilots come to fly their airplanes. With the OpenAirplane single-checkout program, operators will know that pilots participating in the network are safe, conscientious renters. Aircraft that fly more are more profitable, and this will create a significant new business opportunity for them. Operators will also see revenue increase from local pilots who want to participate in the single-checkout program. It will be free for Operators to join, with only a small percentage of the rental income being shared with OpenAirplane.

96% percent of pilots surveyed said that they would fly more at locations away from their home bases if only it was simpler. 51% of them said that they don’t rent away from home because of complicated checkout requirements. 28% of pilots said that they don’t rent more simply because it’s hard to find airplanes.

“We know that pilots who participate in a checkout program like the one we have in mind fly more safely. We can offer that to pilots who want to step up and demonstrate their skills, and drive the accident rate down 60%,” said Rakic. According to FAA data, the accident rate for single-engine piston flying in the US hovers around 7.11 accidents per 100,000 hours flown.

OpenAirplane was developed with broad support from across the general aviation industry, especially from the insurance and training sectors. OpenAirplane’s insurance launch partner, Starr Aviation, a Member of Starr Companies, which has approved the standardization and evaluation program views OpenAirplane program as a “win win” for general aviation safety, rental pilots and the operators. Both the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) and the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) have contributed expertise to the development of OpenAirplane.

Jason Blair, Executive Director of NAFI responds, "Open Airplane is one of the most revolutionary efforts at combing accessibility for pilots and modern technology I have seen.  This has the potential of offering accessibility in places a pilot would not have had in the past.  This is an effort that I, and I hope many others in the industry, will find worthy of strong support."

OpenAirplane is being readied for launch later this year. Pilots who would like to be the first to get onboard can sign up with just their email address at www.OpenAirplane.com

Operators who would like to learn more about offering their aircraft for rent through OpenAirplane can contact Jason Hoffman, Director of Network Development, at jason@OpenAirplane.com.

About the co-founders:
Rod Rakic founded myTransponder.com, a pioneering social networking site for aviators. Rod holds a commercial pilot certificate and has served in various roles in aviation, marketing, and online commerce.

Adam Fast builds software to make things better for users and developers alike - searching aviation museums, planning schedules at Oshkosh, and getting access to information. He's worked on everything from digital publishing to automation systems. Adam holds a private pilot certificate.

Spelling OpenAirplane:
OpenAirplane is spelled as one contiguous string of characters. The the "O" and the first “A” are capitalized. Every other character should be lowercase.