How To Rock Your Universal Pilot Checkout.



Sharing is Dead! Long Live Sharing!

PLANEsharing really should be called FLIGHTsharing, just like RIDEsharing is different than CARsharing

The argument against #planesharing isn’t easy to dismiss. Balancing private privileges with public safety is going to be an ongoing debate, but for now, the question is settled under current regulation.

The story broke this week, detailing the FAA’s legal interpretation on the concept of planesharing as pitched by AirPooler, Flytenow, and many others…

FAA Bans Planesharing Startups

There will be no “ZimRide for airplanes”, according to an FAA ruling released today that prohibits private pilots from publicly offering seats on their planes in exchange for gas money… 

(via techcrunch)

None of this adversely affects OpenAirplane, our operators, or our pilots. We designed OpenAirplane to color within the lines from the beginning. Our business model never assumed that the FAA would ignore decades of precedent, data, and the law.

If you want to dig deeper into the topic, check out this post, "Sometimes Regulations Are Written In Blood" which I posted over on the AOPA Opinion Leaders blog, and over on Medium.

I’m feeling no schadenfreude here. Props to Steve at AirPooler for pressing the issue and getting a clear ruling rather than trying to operate a grey market.

Only a significant deregulation of private aviation can make planesharing viable.

~ Rod


It’s the most social aviation event of the year.

Come meet & mingle with our team.

There will be frosty beverages, cool people, and fun prizes.

Five years ago, Podapalooza began as an informal way for aviation fans to connect with audiences who were otherwise not able to attend using a variety of social media channels, including Twitter feeds and live podcast interviews. Sennheiser will host the fifth annual Podapalooza, which will be bigger and better than ever.

Highlights of this year’s event will include the premier of The Aviators Season 5 as well as several noteworthy guests including Robert Meder, Chairman of the National Association of Flight Instructors; Jennifer Jensen, Co-Executive Producer of The Aviators, Joe Ellis, professional pilot and musician and many others.

Sennheiser will raffle off prizes for those in attendance including an S1 Digital headset, two iFlight Planner premier memberships and a $100 gift certificate to Sporty’s Pilot shop.

RSVP, get updates and share here:

Happy Birthday to us!
OpenAirplane started flying one year ago this week. Time flies eh?
A big thank you to all our pilots, operators, partners, families, friends, fans, and followers who made this past year amazing.
Like we like to say, we’re just getting started.
If you’d like a high resolution version of this infographic to share, you’re welcome to download it here. (205 kB .PDF)

Happy Birthday to us!

OpenAirplane started flying one year ago this week. Time flies eh?

A big thank you to all our pilots, operators, partners, families, friends, fans, and followers who made this past year amazing.

Like we like to say, we’re just getting started.

If you’d like a high resolution version of this infographic to share, you’re welcome to download it here. (205 kB .PDF)


The OpenAirplane Badge

We’re proud to be working with so many great operators around the country, and we’re stoked that you’re so proud of working with us.

We’ve created these badges for you web sites, email news letters etc. You can use to link directly to your operator profile on OpenAirplane.

Here’s the black one one most folks will want to use:


Some web sites with darker backgrounds may look better with something that can provide more contrast. Here’s what may look good on those pages:


Tips on using the badge

Link the badge directly to your profile page on OpenAirplane. Don’t just link to our homepage. The URL should be something like this:

Our badge should not be the dominant graphic on a page. It should be placed below or after your company name or identity. The badge should be smaller than your main message, company identity, or graphics.

You’ll  probably want to place our badge along side your other affiliations, such as being a Cessna Pilot Center, or a Cirrus Platinum Partner logos.

Minimum clear space
Minimum clear space should equal to one-quarter the height of the badge. Do not place photos, typography, or other graphic elements inside the minimum clear space. Minimum size is 40 pixels around the badge for use onscreen.

Mistakes to avoid

  • Use only the OpenAirplane badge provided by us.
  • Do not modify, angle, animate, rotate, or tilt the OpenAirplane badge.
  • Do not use the OpenAirplane logo alone.

Want more?
Please let us know if you need more. We’re happy to work with you to ensure your marketing looks great, and we help more pilots fly with you. Drop us a line at if there’s something else we can do to help you get flying.

Social Media for the Business of Aviation, (on Slideshare) our talk at the 2014 Flight School Association of North America conference.
Tags: FSANA14

Back in the 1950’s, Cessna Aircraft produced this gem… “Wings for Doubting Thomas

This little documentary clearly spelled out the value proposition for Private Aviation 2 generations ago.

I rarely talk about “General Aviation.”

Like most people who read this blog, I’m much more interested in, “Private Aviation.”

You might think quickly that it’s the same, thing, but it’s not. General aviation is broadly defined as as all aviation except for military and airlines. That’s great, but I’m not a, “General Aviation enthusiast.” Frankly I don’t care much about, “General Aviation.” I don’t fly biz jets, cargo, fly much for hire, (Though I have the certificate for, it’s just not a big part of my life these days.) spray crops, perform in air shows, whatever…

While I may aspire to sit in the back of a something with turbines, drinking Cristal… It does not inspire me. I’d rather be up front flying the jet.

Private aviation is the part of civil aviation that does not include flying for hire.”

"In most countries, private flights are always general aviation flights, but the opposite is not true: many general aviation flights (such as banner towing, charter, crop dusting, and others) are commercial in that the pilot is hired and paid. Many private pilots fly for their own enjoyment, or to share the joys and convenience of general aviation with friends and family."

– Wikipedia

You see “General Aviation,” is doing just fine. Ask anyone running a jet charter business these days. Business is up, folks who choose to afford it are buying jet cards and getting to where they want to go in style, and plenty of people are making a good living helping them get there. I’m fine with all that. “General Aviation,” is not dying. It’s growing.

But “Private Aviation” is the community that inspires me. It’s Private Aviation that’s what we’re really talking about when we fry bacon at Camp Scholler, or eat pancakes at the fly in. The ability to climb into a plane and fly myself and my friends or family someplace is like a magic power.

It’s Private Aviation that we built OpenAirplane to serve.

So you see, I don’t talk much about General Aviation. When I speak to the press about OpenAirplane. I explain that it is a marketplace for Private Aviation. I get asked all the time if OpenAirplane will let them hail a jet like they can hail a cab, or if we can help them charter a flight. My answer is always, “Not yet.” It’s just not the business we’re in right now. There are plenty of smart people working to offer charter for businesses and pleasure. That part of General Aviation is well served. I explain that we are focused on Private Aviation, because that’s where the opportunity lies today to unlock more value than anywhere else right now. General Aviation is a competitive, well served market with a healthy ecosystem. But Private Aviation hasn’t seen much innovation since Cessna commissioned that film. This is strange to me, because GPS, iPads, and composites sure have made it a lot easier. Private Aviation can create entirely new use cases for the over 5,000 airports, thousands of aircraft, and hundreds of thousands of certificates in the wallets of  pilots across the country.

Private Aviation has been in decline since the airlines we’re deregulated in 1978. The value proposition of Private Aviation has been evolving ever since. The industry and the community need to both step up to communicate the value proposition for Private Aviation to  new generation of “doubting Thomases,” updating what you see in the old documentary film above to speak to the value proposition we can offer today.

For most of us, the conversation isn’t about General Aviation, it’s about Private Aviation. Let’s call it what it is. I have no time sit back and complain. I believe we can make it better than ever.

[NOTE: This post first appeared on the AOPA “Opinion Leaders" blog]


Making Renting Airplanes Easy, OpenAirplane Kicks Off The New Year With More Locations, New Safety Standard


UPC 2.0


We’re really excited to announce a big update for us here at OpenAirplane…

We’ve listened to the feedback we’ve gathered over our first 6 months in operation, as well as looked at the data we’ve collected via our app to make improvements to our Universal Pilot Checkout. (.PDF)

We’ve made improvements to the UPC form, as well as added optional components to the checkout to enable flying in the mountains, and renting multi engine airplanes.

You’ll see the front of the form now includes check boxes which make it easier for Instructor Pilots to document what was accomplished on the ground and in the air.


Each component of the checkout is evaluated by the Instructor Pilot to the FAA PTS, and documented with:

S – Satisfactory
U – Unsatisfactory
V – Verbal
NP – Not Performed

Section 8 and 9 are optional, and only need to be completed if you would like to fly under instrument flight rules.

New Optional Components for Mountains and Multi’s

On the back of the form, you’ll find new optional components in sections 15 thru 21.

Mountain Flying – We’ve previously limited Pilots who have not completed a conforming mountain flying checkout to operating at airports charted below 5,500 MSL.

The components in sections 15 and 16 will be completed on the ground. Sections 17 thru 20 must all be completed in the airplane, at an airport which is at a density altitude of at least 5,500 feet MSL AND has significant terrain in the vicinity‎.

Like the Form 5, we’ll accept documentation of completion of the CAP “Mountain Fury” flight clinic in lieu of completing sections 15 thru 20.

Multi Engine – Section 21 is optional, and only needs to be completed by multi engine rated Pilots, who wish to rent multi engine aircraft.

Our handy online Pilot’s Guide has been updated to detail how the new form works. Of course our support portal is available to answer questions you may have regarding the new form, and the new process online, via email, or even on the phone.

We’ve been fortunate to work with some of the smartest folks in the industry to continually evolve the standardization / evaluation program that enables making renting easier, and safer. We are grateful to the continued support we get from our friends in the insurance, manufacturer, and flight training communities.

We love feedback. Please feel free to drop us a line, or give us a call anytime to let us know what else we can be doing to improve the experience of private aviation for everyone.

OpenAirplane @ AOPA Summit 2013