On his annual trip to Oshkosh last year, long-time pilot Glenn Brasch flew his newly completed RV-9A, aptly named “10-10-22” for the years, months and days it took him to build the airplane. Flying from Arizona, he made it in one day, but initially planned an overnight stop.
As part of that planning process, he began searching for airports with courtesy cars.
“I quickly learned that there is no central location that lists them,” he says.
There’s got to be an app for that, right? He discovered there wasn’t, so decided to create one himself called Airport Courtesy Cars.
“I figured I had the time as I retired a year ago as a medevac helicopter pilot and I started doing some more research,” said Brasch, who also retired as a government pilot and is the owner of RVAirspace.com.
“Some of the naysayers on a particular RV forum said it had been tried before and I couldn’t do it, or said they were listed on AirNav,” he recalls. “It is true that AirNav lists some cars, but far from all, which I learned.”
He spent days going through AirNav collecting the basics, then starting posting on various forums asking other pilots for input on locations.
“As the list of cars grew, I kept updating those forums and people kept digging deeper and sending me listings and their own comments about locations,” he recounts. “As I neared 700 or 800 listings I thought this would be a great app and talked to a friend who does website and app development. Once we had the app format laid out, it took me weeks to enter all the data as it has to be entered manually on two templates that required several entry locations, and searching and entering the location addresses for the Google map in the app.”
“With a very limited number of posts promoting the app, I have been very happy with the numbers,” Brasch says, noting that as of early February, the app had been downloaded more than 3,678 times and that number was “growing daily.”
“The feedback I have been hearing has been remarkable,” he continues, noting there have been zero crashes. “People love the app and intend on using it.”
The app currently has 1,229 listings nationwide and “those are increasing daily also as people hear about the app,” he says, noting, “I have three more entries that were sent to me just today that will be entered.”
“Many of those listings have comments from people who submitted the data, and some of them are funny too,” he notes. “As the app becomes more popular, people continue to send in more listings and comments.”
Pilots using the app can search by state for airports that have courtesy cars available. It also has a Google map that can be zoomed in or out. Phone numbers listed on the app are clickable, so the airport, FBO or other business can be called directly from the app.
“The app is totally free to pilots, who I envision either using it locally in searching for a car for a burger flight, or along their route on a cross country,” Brasch says.
He adds that the while the app is a phone app, iPad users can download it as well. They just have to switch the search function to phone apps.
He notes he hopes to recoup his costs by selling ads to local businesses, such as restaurants and hotels. He is also selling “upgraded” listings to FBOs.
With these upgraded listings, FBOs offer pilots a fuel discount, then their listing is changed so that it “really stands out” on the app, according to Brasch.
His main investment has been time. He says he’s “amazed” at “how much time and effort this has taken.”
“Fortunately, I am retired, so I have that time,” he adds.
He doesn’t plan on working on any more apps, but that doesn’t mean he’s not busy. He continues as owner of RVAirspace.com, which includes a forum board with more than 460 members. He’s also passionate about aviation safety and holds an Aviation Safety Certificate from the Institute of Safety and Systems Management at the University of Southern California.
He’s also active in promoting aviation to young people, and has flown more than 100 kids in various airplanes.