WorldAeroClub.org has launched to match GA pilots — and non-pilots — who wish to get together and fly.
To do just that they click themselves into the cockpit using the website’s automated Flight Dispatch that matches all flights and flight requests. The website also offers a number of useful features to pilots who wish to share information about destinations, airports and flight weather or, soon to come, file their flight plans online directly with the FAA.
As an IT manager and programmer with one of America’s biggest adventure travel companies, Oliver Schulz had been designing web-based booking engines, fleet management and reservations systems for many years. A passionate pilot himself, facing the increasingly difficult economic environment in which general aviation in the US sees itself, he set out to bring private pilots back to flying again. Encouraged by friends and fellow aviators, a first website had been created to be what was then a mere flight-roster, listing a handful of pilot friends who would occasionally meet at the local airport, rent a plane and fly together. Given the success of this simple concept, and his expertise in web programming, the old list was soon replaced with a more sophisticated system and www.worldaeroclub.org was born as a free service available to all pilots and flying clubs, anywhere in the world.
In only a few weeks the website has registered and grown to almost 1,000 pilots from all over the country who can file their flights with the system’s automated Flight Dispatch. The website also accepts flight requests from those who seek to join pilots on their rides and automatically sends match-notifications out to all matching parties. It creates a win-win-win situation for everybody, Schulz says. Pilots, as well as flying buddies get to fly, save money and meet great people. And in today’s economy, sharing the flights and costs may make more sense than ever.
But flight sharing is just one aspect of this open project, as Schulz calls it. It also offers pilots, and all non-pilot members for that matter, an interactive tool to share their knowledge and experience. Everybody can post and retrieve “Flight Reports” about destinations and airports and share this knowledge with everybody else in the system. As the name suggests, worldaeroclub.org is not limited to the US but open to aviators from all over the world. Individual message boards similar to Facebook’s “Wall,” photo-galleries, pilot profiles and flight histories make this website a useful and fun place. And for those who like some sportsmanship the pilot-ranking will add another fun factor to it as pilots climb the ranks with every flight they post in the system.