A trio of pilots have developed an app to consolidate logbook info, weather, scheduling, airports and other data relevant to professional pilots. They are about to launch a new website and are looking to expand their offering.
Pilots are required to have a logbook, which is used to track their flying hours, and they need access to other data, like weather forecasts and schedules, all available on different apps and websites, until now.
We spoke to Ryan Moody, Director of Complete Aviation, about the origin of the company and how it has developed.
What prompted you and your friends to set up Complete Aviation?
It all started during COVID. We became very unbusy as airline pilots, and so a lot of time was spent at home. At the time, I was paying £80 a year for just a logbook, which looks like a posh spreadsheet.
I wasn't flying and was told I was not going to be flying for a good two years. So, I decided that I was not going to pay. I still wanted a logbook, so I decided to create my own, and then it grew from there. I stopped paying for all the different apps and decided to make one with everything included in one place, so that's where it all stemmed from.
Ironically, not wanting to spend £80 a year, I've ended up spending a lot more money. We were looking to create the product ourselves, so we came onto the journey without any idea about how to create an app. We've never started a business before. All our expertise is in flying. We have no expertise outside that. We just knew what product we wanted to have. We didn't know the part to get to that endpoint.
Was it at this point that GC Business Growth Hub entered the picture?
It was really through my cofounder. I got my two best friends to help me, Lawrence, who also flies with British Airways, and Carl Russel, who flies with Tui.
Carl is the one who got introduced to the Hub. He's the one who did all the early groundwork. He went to a Start-Up support meeting in Manchester, and from there, we've done quite a lot with the Hub. We've had loads of help.
Each of the individual founders is taking on different roles in the business. I've been doing a lot on social media because we're having problems targeting our audience. We know our target audience, which is great, but we're struggling to reach them.
Phil's been brilliant (Philip Blair, Senior Advisor, Global Scale-Up Programme at the Hub) working with us. The support has helped us massively, and all that extra help has been brilliant. Phil is constantly checking up on us and see how we're progressing or if there's anything else we need help with.
Through the Hub, we've been looking at grants and been put in contact with Innovate UK, and we're now building a relationship with them. It's something we hadn't thought about doing.
The Hub is opening up things we wouldn't have known about or had access to previously.
You got support from the Hub with your website. How was that experience?
We did the website before we met the Hub, but we've had help regarding improving our SEO. We've been doing a lot of sessions talking about SEO and what we can improve on the website.
Through that, we have created a new website, which hopefully will be released in the next few weeks. It's light years better than the one we've currently got, and we're taking loads of snippets of what we've learned through our sessions with the Hub. We just had a simple one-page website, but we needed a two-page website to rank higher on SEO, and that's an example of a fundamental thing we needed to be doing and learn about. But you don't know what you don't know.
They've been helping us with the website, and we've gone step-by-step through the design process of what we've created with the website, and we're getting feedback as we go. It's great. It's really helped us and moved us forward as a company.
We've got a frequently asked questions section, but we needed it tailored to what the Internet's askings. We can boost our ranking, and instead of appearing on page four of a search, we might appear on page one. That is another of those little things that can improve our opportunities and business.
What future developments are you looking at?
We are looking at expanding the app to include services for cabin crew. We're going to tailor it to capture them, as well as to broaden our market. But at the moment, we are trying to conquer the pilots or at least get a foothold in them.
In that area, in terms of airlines, the app itself supports BA, EasyJet, all of the Ryan Air Group and TUI, so we got four under our belt. We're trying to develop more, but it will cost money.
Some airlines prefer to avoid it if their pilots go to third-party apps like ours and store their data and passwords that they use on that app. We have made sure that we don't do any of that. We don't store any website data, or any passwords, on our servers to try and mitigate the concerns of some airlines.
We are also going to try and get in contact with flight schools to get pilots in early. It's a pain to transfer all your data, so removing that stage and that pain by having them on the app before they start is a bonus.
Have you worked with the Hub in any other areas? And will you continue to do so?
I and all the other founders, with our Finance Director Mario, have been on the Access to Finance Pathway to Equity course, where we had loads of help regarding pitching to investors.
Phil will still be my main contact. He's looking at courses for us to go on, but we haven't yet because of our schedules. We're still flying full-time.
We will keep in touch with GC Business Growth Hub because they've been brilliant with us. And we are still learning a lot.
Philip Blair, who worked with Complete Aviation, is Senior Advisor – Global Scale-up support, GC Business Growth Hub - Digital, Creative & Technology. He continues to work with Complete Aviation.
"Working with Ryan and the team at Complete Aviation is a great example of how we best work with businesses that want to grow internationally. We take the time to understand the business and work together to identify their biggest opportunities and challenges. We introduce techniques such as "agile thinking" and support them in making growth happen. We also use our network of partners and relationships to introduce businesses to the right people at the right time."
You can view the company’s website here: Complete Aviation