OpenAirplane continues to gain lift.
Founded in 2012 and now offering a fleet of 333 aircraft at 86 airports (with 94 locations) across the country, the Chicago-based company announced a new round of investment: $500,000 from investors both locally and abroad. In addition, the company launched a contest that could give the most active of the 10,000 OpenAirplane pilots a new Lightspeed Tango wireless headset or a new leather flight bag from Lightspeed Aviation.
Pilots who complete a single model-specific checkout can rent that same model aircraft at any other location without having to check out again, and the most active OpenAirplane pilots between Feb. 19 and March 27 will win one of two prizes offered by Lightspeed Aviation. Hours flown will be multiplied by locations flown from to calculate the scores, with the most active OpenAirplane pilot winning the Lightspeed Tango, which offers premium features and a cord-free design for a less tangled cockpit (each comes with a cord as a backup in case the battery runs low). Second prize is a Gann leather flight bag from Lightspeed.
“We are excited by the opportunity to partner with OpenAirplane, an innovative company devoted to removing a big obstacle to flying,” said Teresa De Mers, Lightspeed executive vice president of sales, marketing, and customer support, in a news release. “We are especially excited to be working together on a contest that encourages pilots to fly more often.”
A second Gann flight bag will be awarded to the pilot “who shows the most community service-oriented use of OpenAirplane, as determined by a panel of judges from the Lightspeed Aviation Foundation and OpenAirplane,” the Feb. 19 news release noted.
Details of the Lightspeed contest are posted online, and OpenAirplane is recruiting software developers for its operation online as well. More than 10,000 pilots have signed up for the service, with no charge for enrollment. OpenAirplane operators offer a range of popular general aviation aircraft, including Cirrus models at several locations.