OpenAirplane Expands Network to Aircraft Owners

** OpenAirplane**

Ever wished you could rent your airplane to strangers? OpenAirplane, the creator of a Zipcar-style aircraft rental network, announced a new service called Collaborative Aircraft Rental that aims to let aircraft owners rent their personal airplanes to qualified OpenAirplane members.

The idea is to broaden the OpenAirplane network of available aircraft while allowing owners to bring in revenue from their otherwise idle airplanes. Posting aircraft availability on the OpenAirplane website is free, the owner gets to decide how much to charge per hour, and OpenAirplane in turn handles the billing and credit card processing — and takes a 10 percent cut for their trouble.

"Someplace between sole ownership and leasing the airplane back is a happy place where you can occasionally rent your airplane to well-qualified pilots," says Rod Rakic, co-founder of OpenAirplane. "Putting your airplane to work when you're not flying it makes sense for many owners."

What about insurance, you ask? OpenAirplane has thought of that by teaming with Starr Aviation to create an entirely new kind of insurance policy that offers coverage for aircraft owners who want to make their aircraft available exclusively to pilots using OpenAirplane.

"OpenAirplane is shaking up the way people think about aircraft rental in a good way," says Jim Anderson, Senior Vice President for Starr Aviation. The key to making the program work, he says, is that OpenAirplane pilots undergo annual training with approved schools. Aircraft owners can also rate the pilots who rent their airplanes online and review ratings from other aircraft owners.

The OpenAirplane network has grown to 52 locations across the United States, offering more than 180 aircraft for rent. Around 6,000 pilots have signed up to fly with OpenAirplane since the service launched last summer.

The OpenAirplane Universal Pilot Checkout allows FBOs around the country to verify a pilot's qualifications and training in each make and model aircraft. The network gives pilots access to airplanes around the country "without the usual hassle and expense of performing local checkouts," the company says.

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