Two college students want to revolutionize how you get fuel at an FBO.
John Hill and Daniel Lehmer are the forces behind EasyFBO, a turnkey solution that makes it easy for all concerned — pilots, an FBO’s front desk personnel and the linemen — to handle fuel orders.
The idea was born from Hill’s more than three years working at ProJet Aviation, the FBO at Leesburg Executive Airport (KJYO) in Virginia. An avid pilot and student specializing in entrepreneurship at George Mason University, his idea made him one of five finalists in Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of the Year. His was the only idea related to general aviation.
Since then, he has been working day and night to test the system and get it ready to demo at this year’s National Business Aviation Association Convention in November in Las Vegas.
A beta test at KJYO with “tons of pilots” led the pair to tweak the system, coming up with a “Workflow Package,” that includes three iPad minis — one for the front desk and the other two for the fuel trucks — as well as FBO desk and line credentials for the EasyFBO app and a data plan for the two fuel truck iPads.
The program is based around the EasyFBO app, which features three components:
- Pilot login, accessible from any mobile device, which enables pilots to order fuel and other services from the FBO. It also keeps the pilot’s order history and provides live updates from the fueler.
- Front desk login, which allows FBO personnel to manage operations. They have the ability to add, edit, and view fuel orders, as well as receives status updates and view and print reports.
- Line tech login, which enables line technicians to view a real time flow of tasks and check them off as they’re completed.
“This system removes the need for paper fuel tickets, order lists at the front desk, and the many sticky-notes used on a daily basis to pass along orders,” Hill noted. “Gone are the days of constantly keeping up with and managing fuel or service request lists. Instead of putting customers on hold and having to call the fueler, the front desk can concentrate on the clients.”
During the beta test, pilots noted that they really liked having the option to preschedule their fuel orders and not having to call the front desk and be put on hold, Hill reported. They also like being able to save their information, so ordering fuel is as simple as a few taps on the app.
The system also solves one of the biggest problems facing FBOs: Miscommunication, which can mean a customer slips through the cracks and doesn’t get their plane fueled to much bigger problems, like dispensing the wrong kind of fuel in an airplane.
“When they type in the app what kind of fuel they want, that doesn’t get changed,” Hill said.
“Ultimately, we want FBOs to be more productive and profitable,” he continued. “FBOs are the lifeblood of the industry, so while our solution seems simple and specific to the business, the impact is wide and far-reaching.”
Both Hill and Lehmer will be at NBAA to debut the system. Another college student, James Tobin, of Christopher Newport University, also is involved in working behind the scenes to develop the app.
Hill, who graduates from George Mason this year, said the company is already looking ahead to what other innovations it could add to the system. Invoicing is top of the list, he noted.
Pilots who have used the system see its potential, Hill added, pointing to Raymond de Haan, a CFI at KJYO.
“It is easy to use. Just follow the steps,” de Haan noted. “This system is set up for mostly fuel requests, but has the potential for much more. I’ve already used EasyFBO for services other than fuel requests, which worked out perfectly as well. I’m looking forward to the next level of EasyFBO where creative minds are always hard at work for a higher level of service and more efficiency.”