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Archive for Sunday, July 30, 2000

Site lets pilots barnstorm ‘Net

July 30, 2000

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— Alan Goodnight knows a few things about pilots and airplanes.

He knows they like to talk about their airplanes. And he knows they like to use the Internet.



I realized that there is no good place to go for quality and operating costs data for aircraft.Alan Goodnight, pilot

Thus his idea for an online aircraft database.

Goodnight says surveys indicate 90 percent of pilots use the Internet at least once a week. He wants them to visit PilotsReport.com and share their likes and dislikes about aircraft.

Goodnight is compiling the information into a database, then will sell reports to anyone wanting to research a particular brand and style of airplane.

"We (already) have about 60 aircraft profiles," he said. "We are going to continue to collect data for 30 days before starting to sell the reports."

The goal is to create an aircraft Consumer Reports -- a place for the truth about aircraft quality and operating costs.

Goodnight, 34, entices pilots to participate by giving them a free report on their aircraft and "pilot points" good for discounts on aviation supplies from selected vendors.

There are several hundred aviation Web sites, but Goodnight thinks he's landed a niche product. He said he developed the idea while marketing Cessna Aircraft Co. single-engine airplanes, some of which cost a quarter of a million dollars or more when new.

"I realized that there is no good place to go for quality and operating costs data for aircraft," said Goodnight, who is a pilot with an instrument rating and about 800 flight hours.

Reflecting the norm for general aviation, most of the reports were about aircraft 30 years and older.

"We hope to focus on new airplanes eventually," Goodnight said.

Goodnight also has devised some reliability indexes that measure such things as problems per 100 hours that he hopes will become industry standards.

The site eventually will have reports on avionics, pilots supplies and flight training materials.

Goodnight traces his entrepreneurial spirit to when he was president of the Association of College Entrepreneurs at Wichita State. He has worked in marketing and spent four years with Cessna before quitting to start the Web site in February.

Partner and programmer Jeremy Tomlinson designed the site, while aviation photographer Paul Bowen of Wichita contributes photos.

After two months of operation, Goodnight has a contract from the Federal Aviation Administration to compile the agency's annual survey of aircraft owners.

He also will be working with Aviation Data Inc., a Wichita company that collects and sells information about and to the aviation industry.




Visit the site at www.pilotreports.com.

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