Like many pilots on vacation, I often find myself staring skyward and wishing I could stop at a local FBO and sign out an airplane. Doing so isn’t especially difficult, but it does requires a checkout and enough paperwork to make the endeavor more chore than adventure.
But thanks to OpenAirplane and its Universal Pilot Checkout concept, I can now easily rent from about 100 operators in more than 32 states using little more than my iPad.
There isn’t much more to say about OpenAirplane that hasn’t already been said, but I am a fan. The concept is simple: Complete one very thorough checkout, then rent the same type of aircraft from a participating operator. An OpenAirplane checkout, which usually requires a one hour oral exam and a one hour practical test in the air, also resets the clock your Flight Review.
As they put it, OpenAirplane makes it easy to find, book, fly, and pay for aircraft rental on your desktop, your tablet, or with your smartphone. Next time just grab the keys and the clipboard and go.
I’ve completed two OpenAirplane checkouts in as many years. The UPC isn’t easy; it’s on par with your private pilot checkride. You’ll be held to higher standards than what is required for most flight reviews, but the reward is great.
I’ve written about what to expect on your private pilot checkride. My overview will help you prepare for your UPC with OpenAirplane. In addition, be sure to review their official online guide for what to expect (and what to bring) to your UPC, as well as the video below.