There’s a new way to rent an airplane at six airports across the U.S. and the founders of OpenAirplane hope it will modernize and rationalize the way people rent aircraft. The online service puts renters and aircraft owners together with an eBay twist. “Both pilots and operators contribute to a reputation system, creating first of its kind transparency for the community,” said OpenAirplane spokesman Rod Rakic. OpenAirplane launched today with affiliates in New York, L.A., Chicago, San Jose, Kissimmee and Detroit and almost 6,000 pilots have registered even though the service has been in a beta mode until today. Rentals can be arranged through almost any kind of Web device, it’s open to anyone with an FAA pilot certificate from Sport Pilot to ATP, and it’s free for pilots and the aircraft providers to join.
To start, the service is offering a range of single-engine aircraft from its affiliates but Rakic said as more aircraft providers come aboard there will be more options. OpenAirplane makes its money by taking a small cut of the rental fee. “The value proposition of private aviation is broken. It’s time that we all work together to fix it,” said Rakic. “Pilots want more utility, and the industry demands more safety. By offering a better user experience, we can have a measurable impact on both.”