Posted by KingAirNation — Friday, December 13, 2019
Back in October, we wrote up an article detailing SierraTrax’s partnership announcement with Textron Aviation. The agreement allowed for all factory new and pre-owned aircraft from Textron Aviation to receive a free year of SierraTrax maintenance tracking services. However, when it came to King Air, the fee that would normally come after that first year was completely waived. In fact, any King Air ever would be provided the tracking service free of charge!
It was a major bombshell; so we reached out to SierraTrax and company CEO Jason Talley to learn the thought process behind this decision.
In addition to founding SierraTrax, Jason was the brains behind JetFuelX, a free service which helps pinpoint the best contract fuel prices. When we inquired, Jason, (an aviator himself), noted that JetFuelX was born because he personally couldn’t find a reasonable solution to easily determine the best contract fuel price at an airport. Additionally, SierraTrax was born because he was tired of paying the ever increasing prices that the competition charged.
“Necessity is the mother of all invention. I needed solutions, I wasn’t happy with what was in the marketplace, so we built them,” Talley said.
Refusing to accept that everything in aviation had to be super expensive, Jason tailored his products to the small operator and small fleet.
“If you are operating a fleet of 30 to 50 aircraft, your needs are probably much different than if you are operating a fleet of under 15. That’s been the driving force when we look at a feature, when we look at something we are working on – does this make life easier for that operator?” noted Talley.
With that mindset, Jason and his team focused on delivering modern, clean, intuitive interfaces that are easily accessible to everyone.
“We built it for today, with today’s technology… and we certainly wanted it to be easy and intuitive to use, we don’t feel like you should have to have webinars to use our system; you shouldn’t need that.” said Talley.
SierraTrax’s customers were impressed with the product, and soon, advocation reached the ears of Textron Aviation. According to Talley, Textron Aviation listened, and realized the importance of having more than one recommended maintenance tracking solution. Soon after, the partnership was born.
We then asked Jason the big question; why was the service offered for free to King Air? He gave us 3 reasons:
- Safety. “The methods that we use to track aircraft were spreadsheets that were prone to error and they also really didn’t allow you to understand what was happening to other people out there,” Talley said, “We think that having a centralized tracking system like SierraTrax makes the intelligence wrapped around the (King Air) fleet better and we think it also provides for a safer operation.”
- Because We Can. “We’re doing it for free because we can… we think that other people (competition) are taking advantage of that community (small operators/fleets) and their high prices are precluding people from using it. It’s as simple as that. The King Airs are easier for us to track and manage (than other fleets).” noted Talley.
- Incremental Revenue. “This isn’t the driving reason, but candidly one that we saw after the fact – which was – if we have a company that has several King Air, and might have one Citation or Hawker we might pick that up as well.” said Talley.
Jason told us that response has been tremendous; with customers being vested in the product. SierraTrax has made it a point that customer feedback is a key component in determining future product updates and feature iterations.
In closing the interview, we asked Jason to share any final thoughts he had. His reply was heartwarming.
“Our goal here is to demonstrate that you can bring modern world technology and pricing into aviation services. You can make them easy to use and you can make them free or at a reasonable cost, and you can layer on tools that allow operators to have insight into their aircraft and what they are doing with their aircraft,” said Talley, “and I think that makes the community a better community, I think it makes safer aircraft, safer pilots, and if we can have a small impact in that then we are successful.”
Now that’s a very refreshing attitude to have in the aviation industry.