I can’t believe I’m writing this 2014 Year In Review article already. 2014 was barely a hiccup on the radar but when I look back, it was a year filled with significant travel, a tremendous amount of learning, and surprises at every turn.
The year started out with a trip to San Diego early last spring. My journey to sunny SoCal was a much-needed respite from the Polar Vortex that was loitering well beyond its seasonal bounds. The trip gave me the opportunity to meet with Grant Opperman. A seasoned businessman and fellow pilot, his input, guidance, and well-received constructive criticism helped me refine HangarSphere’s strategic plan. The remainder of the year was spent building on the momentum gained from that meeting.
Upon my return from San Diego, I unpacked and repacked immediately for Pensacola, Florida with a visit to the Blue Angels’ summer base. Their aging facilities represent naval aviation history in real time yet the faces of those framed on the walls and those now walking the halls exhibit perpetual youth. These two elements clash in a strange paradox. It was a humbling experience and one that won’t ever be forgotten.
Later that same spring, I visited with Steven Levesque of Hawthorne Aviation and toured their new FBO at Chicago Executive Airport (PWK). Their open house was well attended and was the perfect venue to showcase their brand new facility that was constructed from the ground up. Hawthorne’s momentum continues to increase with yet another FBO taking on the Hawthorne name in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
The summer saw travels to Missouri and far western Illinois with Cameron Brown and his trusty A36 Bonanza. He introduced me to his sprawling hangar home just east of the banks of the Mississippi. I still don’t know whether I should call it a hangar with an attached castle or a castle with an attached hangar. Either way the entire structure was beautiful to behold.
July found me in Oshkosh, Wisconsin presenting on the topic of hangar construction at AirVenture. All sessions were to capacity as HangarSphere continues to grow and fill that hangar niche within the aviation industry. Discussions of land lease, site preparation, building codes, hangar door options, and many other facets relating to hangar construction were explored and were well received.
Apple’s introduction of iOS 8 bogged down the travel schedule heading into fall as new “app builds” had to be created, tested, and submitted to Apple before the full version of iOS 8 was released to the public. We were ahead of the curve and were unscathed when Apples’ new operating system went live. Countless other publishers were caught off guard and many of their app-based magazines went dark for up to a month while they explored remedies to their coding problems. The end result was worth the headache as we will be releasing Hangarsphere for all versions of the iPhone in January 2015.
Even with the distraction of optimizing the HangarSphere app for iOS 8, travels to NBAA in Orlando were realized in October. I was able to meet with some great companies including hangar door builder, Norco Manufacturing; GSE manufacturer and distributor, Aero Specialties; South Africa’s newest FBO – Fireblade Aviation; and fuel provider Epic Aviation to name just a few.
Throughout all my travels, I’ve heard positive and negative trends in the airport industry that will directly affect the hangar segment. I’m discovering more and more airports and their tenants that have benefitted through the Fee Simple model and look forward to sharing those successes with you through 2015. On the legal front, I’ve done my part to bring the debate regarding Aeronautical Use vs. Nonaeronautical Use to the forefront. The FAA’s window for constructive input closed several months ago and we have yet to hear of any significant outcome based on that input.
Thank you for joining us for yet another year. Please share HangarSphere with your friends and colleagues in your aviation circles. Wishing you the best in 2015 and beyond.
Lars Jensen, ATP