I’m not objective. Not when it comes to flying. I’m an unabashed supporter.
There are a lot of people far smarter than me trying to do some amazing things in aerospace. Why wouldn’t I support them?
I’d put Rod Rakic and Adam Fast in that “far smarter than me” group. And if I’m honest, that isn’t a high hurdle to clear.
Anyway, Rod and Adam were the creators of OpenAirplane and FlyOtto. The former had the goal of making “renting an airplane as easy as renting a car.” The latter sought to “match travelers with pilots and planes, on demand.”
Lofty goals. Both of them.
From listening to Rod’s presentation at AirVenture back at the beginning of the last decade, I was hooked.
“The only thing that can save aviation is aviating,” said Rod at the time at AeroInnovate. Bingo. Such a succinct statement, and true to its core.
For those reasons, and more, I was shocked and saddened to read that by Dec. 29, 2019, both OpenAirplane and FlyOtto would be no more.
A few take-aways from Rod’s farewell…
“More than 25,000 people had signed up to fly with us across the two platforms.” 25,000? That is a lot of people.
“It’s tough to get pilots off the couch and into the cockpit.” Ouch. As a pilot who flies far too little each year, I can honestly say it is not because I’m lazing about on the couch. But “couch” is likely a filler for anything that occupies a higher place on the list of priorities.
Most telling however was “Survey data is not anywhere close to being as valuable as being in the market and following the money.” Bingo. People will tell you how great an idea is right up to the point when they have to pull out their wallet. Getting pilots – anyone really – to part with hard-earned cash takes just a bit more. And that bit is often too high a hurdle.
I applaud Rod and Adam for the effort and look forward to catching up with them at one of 2020’s aviation events. They’re both energetic and unabashed supporters of aviation.
Just my kind of people.