Fri, Apr 20, 2012
'OpenAirplane' Hopes To Make Rentals Easier, Improve Safety
A new online portal focused on the aircraft rental market is being readied for launch by the creators of 'mytransponder.com'. OpenAirplane is being designed as a solution for pilots who want to fly away from their home bases without the need for 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.
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.
"Open Airplane is one of the most revolutionary efforts at combing accessibility for pilots and modern technology I have seen," said Jason Blair, Executive Director of NAFI . "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."
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