As an IT manager and programmer with one of America's biggest adventure travel companies, Oliver Schulz had been designing web-based booking engines, fleet management & reservations systems for many years. A passionate pilot himself, facing the increasingly difficult economic environment in which General Aviation in the US sees itself suffering from a shrinking pilot population, Oliver set out to bring private pilots back to flying again. Encouraged by friends and fellow aviators, a first, simple and nameless website had been created to be what was then a mere flight-roster, listing a handful of pilot friends who would occasionally meet at the local airport, rent a plane and fly together. Given the success of this simple concept, and his expertise in web programming, the old list was soon replaced with a more sophisticated system. www.worldaeroclub.org was born. A free service that is available to all pilots and flying clubs, anywhere in the world.
In only a few weeks the website has registered and grown to almost a thousand pilots from all over the country who can file their flights with the system's automated Flight Dispatch. The website also accepts flight requests from those who seek to join pilots on their rides and automatically sends match-notifications out to all matching parties. It creates a win-win-win situation for everybody, Oliver says. Pilots as well as flying buddies get to fly, save money and meet great people. And in today's economy, sharing the flights and costs may make more sense than ever. And this in more ways than the most obvious one:
Did you know that in the United States, General Aviation transports over 160 million passengers every year? And 1.3 million jobs are directly linked to General Aviation. Every time a pilot takes to the sky because sharing the flight made it affordable, he/she helps keep General Aviation strong and supports businesses and jobs such as, high-skill technicians, manufacturers & suppliers, local and regional transportation & logistics, volunteering pilots organizations, disaster relief, sightseeing & tourism, airport & local businesses, and the list goes on and on. With a pilot population of approx. 600,000 and a General Aviation fleet of nearly a quarter million airplanes flying out of nearly 20,000 private and public use airports every day, General Aviation is, in a way, the largest "airline" in the US and an important pillar of our economy.
But flight sharing is just one aspect of this open project, as Oliver calls it. It also offers pilots, and all non-pilot members for that matter, an interactive tool to share their knowledge and experience. Everybody can post and retrieve "Flight Reports" about destinations and airports and share this knowledge with everybody else in the system. As the name suggests, worldaeroclub.org is not limited to the US but open to aviators from all over the world. Individual message boards similar to facebook's "Wall", photo-galleries, pilot profiles and flight histories make this website an amazingly useful and fun place. And for those who like some sportsmanship the pilot-ranking will add another fun factor to it as pilots climb the ranks with every flight they post in the system.
WorldAeroClub.org goes far beyond being a mere virtual social network which seem to pop up everywhere on the Internet, but might actually have a real-world impact on how people travel, experience and view General Aviation. And besides the economy-factor, it really seems to make sense from an environmental and safety viewpoint too.
AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association)
The organization's Twitter (http://twitter.com/
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Worldaeroclub.org was founded by Oliver Schulz, a web programmer and passionate pilot himself, in an effort to facilitate the exchange of information between pilots and to make flying more affordable and social by sharing flights and contacts, flight reports, ideas, etc.
Today worldaeroclub.org is operated by Ulices Information Systems, LLC whose sole purpose is to provide the necessary web platform and to give worldaeroclub.org a legal entity. Worldaeroclub.org is solely funded by its founder and through voluntary contributions from its members.
Ulices Information Systems, LLC
P.O. Box 5704
Petaluma, CA 94955