For general aviation pilots and aircraft owners who are AOG (aircraft on ground) and stuck in an unfamiliar place, finding maintenance, parts, or a place to stay can be difficult, so Cirrus SR22 owner Jay Locke developed the AOG Alerts app to help. Pilots are avoiding airlines and using their high-performance general aviation airplanes to travel more than ever, but having an AOG event while traveling can ruin a trip.
Locke came up with the idea for the app after the message-based forum he used to communicate with other Cirrus owners became too clumsy to use and hard for other pilots to find. “Shouldn’t there be a centralized application?” he wondered. “Somebody must have done this.”
He reached out to other Cirrus owners to assess their interest in such an app and whether they would support it financially. After raising almost $2,000, he connected with another Cirrus owner, Goutham Sukumar, who is also a software developer, and the result was the launch of AOG Alerts. “I threw it out there thinking nobody would be very supportive,” he said. “It’s gratifying to see an idea become reality.”
AOG Alerts isn’t just for pilots stuck with mechanical problems but for anything where fellow pilots can help out, including recommendations for local eateries and attractions, accommodations, and even rides from the airport to town. “This is more [about] how can we help each other, rather than a general chat kind of [forum],” Locke said. “This is about pilots helping each other.”
The app is free and available for iOS and Android devices. Users can sign up by aircraft type, join up to two aircraft type groups, and choose their home airport and a preferred distance to receive alerts from other app participants.
Threads remain active for 30 days, Locke explained, because “this is more an on-demand solution rather than what was done in the past. If you want super-deep information about a part number, your best bet is an owner website. But [with AOG Alerts], a local person may know where to find one. It’s an instant-help kind of tool that’s maybe lighter in detail, at least for now, that provides a wider audience that’s geographically oriented.”
As of early January, the number of users had grown to more than 400, according to Locke. “This is volunteer-driven,” he said. “The more sign up, the more likely you are to get help. We don’t ever intend to charge for it.”