Deep Dive Episode 4 – “Uber of the Sky”: The Story of Flytenow
Flytenow was a ridesharing platform for small planes. The company was founded by two pilots, Alan Guichard and Matt Voska. This kind of cost-sharing arrangement was explicitly authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Flytenow software facilitated the cost-sharing in accordance with FAA rules and also provided a breadth of information about the flight and the pilot including his/her license type, experience, past flight ratings, and social media.
The service was a great win-win for both parties. That is until the FAA caught wind of all the innovation and deemed the online nature of Flytenow to be prohibited. The FAA reasoned that posting flight plans online, as opposed to physical bulletin boards, was impermissible because it could attract a broader segment of the public. Flytenow, with the help of The Goldwater Institute, challenged the FAA’s ruling all the way to the Supreme Court; but unfortunately, the Court declined to take up the case in January of this year, effectively upholding the lower courts’ siding with the FAA.
Flytenow is now pursuing a legislative route to make ridesharing in aviation a reality.