Chicago Startup: OpenAirplane Rent Planes As Easily As Cars

A startup in Chicago is looking to change the game for about 96% of pilots who have their licenses but have been fed up with the current way planes are rented. Currently, after you’ve invested nearly $10,000 in a pilots license the next step is to start getting flight hours.  Planes are quite costly so the easiest way to do that is to rent them.

Planes rent for roughly $185 per hour that the engines are actually turning. While it may seem like a costly hobby that’s just the start of it. Right now when you rent a plane you have to do what is called a “check out” with the plane rental company. It’s almost like a mini pilots test and can involve half the day and add money to your bottom line.

If you rent one plane in Chicago, and take it to Miami, and then rent a different, plane, but the exact same model for the return trip from Miami to Chicago you have to take another checkout “test”.  They can’t just take the certificate or the word of the previous rental company.

OpenAirplane is trying to change that by offering a network of pilots who’ve taken a more universal “checkout” annually. By having their network of pilots take one “universal” checkout it speeds up the process, cuts down the frustration and ultimately adds up to more rented plane hours and more revenue for the plane rental companies.

OpenAirplane’s two founders Adam Fast and Rod Rakic are both pilots themselves and have experienced these pains first hand.

Fast and Rakic have gotten out of the office and into the field and successfully recruited every single major insurance carrier that provides insurance to plane rental companies, on board with their idea.  This is not a matter of the TSA or the FAA. In fact Rakic told a group after a pitch in Chicago that the FAA would prefer that more pilots were renting and ultimately flying.

After a major aviation industry trade event in Florida, Rakic and Fast were able to recruit over 2700 pilots to their network which is still in stealth mode, but will roll out publicly, very shortly.

OpenAirplane will then serve as a network to connect pilots to plane rentals and even customers.  Their “network” will be free for pilots and rental companies to join. OpenAirplane will take a revenue cut from the rental companies who ultimately should be more than happy to share in revenue because OpenAirplane will generate more rentable hours all around.

In addition to putting more money in the rental companies pockets, and more flight hours for the pilots, they will also make private rentals and flying safer. They can make this claim because their “universal” checkout test will be streamlined so that every pilot takes the same test and also because it will be an annual requirement. The FAA only requires pilots to test every two years.

Now as Rakic says, pilots with a pilot license in their back pocket will be able to book their next flight online and grab the keys, the checklist and go.


We’re featuring Chicago all week long in preparation for TechWeek, more info on that here

Check out OpenAirplane at their website here

Check out their pitch video on their page here

We need some help to get to Chicago check this out  IT’S JUST TWO BUCKS


You Might Also Like