Doug Rank, the VP of Engineering at our Portland office, was one of the very first people working to modernize business aviation during what he refers to as “the dawn of the Internet.” After running some of the early online charter sales websites, he took up the helm at Avinode in 2010 and has guiding our Oregonian engineering team towards excellence ever since.
You go way, way back with Avinode. How far back?
I guess from a certain perspective I might be the employee with the most longevity at Avinode. I was one of the founders of Charter X which was started before Avinode was started, and Avinode wound up acquiring us in 2010 so I can claim to have been doing this longer than the founders of Avinode!
What roles have you assumed over the years?
After Avinode acquired Charter X, I became the VP of Engineering, responsible for our Portland office. The main product we’ve been building here is Schedaero, our flight scheduling application, which I’ve been working on for 7 years since it first came to market. And in the last year we’ve done a big expansion of Schedaero so we’re just completing doubling the size of the engineering team here in Portland.
How has Schedaero been evolving and expanding?
Schedaero began as a really strong product for charter sales. So if you were an operator who was selling your charter, Schedaero was very efficient at generating a lot of quotes very quickly and facilitating communication with your customer. Now for several years, our customers have been encouraging us to go deeper into the operations of the trip, which has resulted in us including more detailed aspects like pilot training requirements.
What makes Schedaero different from other flight operations software?
Even as we’ve been building out deeper operational functionality, we want to maintain the ease of use that Schedaero customers love today. They value that they can hire a new person and have that person working productively in Schedaero with only a tiny amount of training, as opposed to some of the legacy desktop applications where it’s common that you have consultants come in for multiple weeks to train your staff on how to work with a very complicated program. Schedaero is very rich in functionality, but we’ve always maintained a very high standard for ease of use.
Can you tell us about the Schedaero mobile app?
The app is initially aimed at crew members. If you are pilot or a flight attendant, you’re rarely in the office. Your job is you get in an airplane and fly places. We’ve definitely heard the feedback from customers that it would be simpler if they could receive notifications of new missions through an app, be able to review their trip details on their mobile device and record their flight logs on the go. Probably within a few months we’ll have beta customers using the Schedaero app.