Using an old concept with new twists to increase rentals

We’ve been working on a way to help pilots fly more, help flight schools and FBOs that rent aircraft book more revenue, and get more great rental customers. OpenAirplane will make it easy to find, book, fly, and pay for aircraft rental online or with a mobile device. Last week we started giving the world a peek at what our team has been quietly working on for eight months.

The team behind OpenAirplane started with the hypothesis that if together we reduced the hassle in renting airplanes, all our pilot certificates would become much more valuable. We imagined flying on the airlines from Chicago to Miami, easily booking the same make / model we fly at home, learning about local procedures on our own time, and then showing up to be handed the keys and clipboard to fly down to The Keys for lunch. We imagined renting an airplane like we rent cars. We imagined doing a checkout locally, then using that credential around the country without having to invest half a day and hundreds of dollars in checking out, yet again, every time.

Ninety-six percent of pilots we surveyed told us they would fly more when away from home, if the process was simpler. Fifty-one percent said it was the complicated checkout that kept them away. Twenty-eight percent said it was just too hard to find an airplane. How often would we rent cars if we were required to take the kid from behind the car rental counter around the parking lot three times before we got the keys? We see the hassle in renting airplanes today eroding everybody’s business.

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