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The Book A Flight system was written by Antony Russell. Antony holds a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science from the University of Cape Town. He is a partner in a successful computer company, and started flying socially some 18 years ago. In the interests of continually improving his own flying, he eventually became a part-time Instructor at a local flying club.

Throughout his flying career, Antony found the booking sheet systems at most clubs to be a source of endless frustration. Each weekend he needed to phone or drive out to confirm his start time in case of a new booking or cancellation. Each booking he made remotely was an act of faith, hoping the Duty Pilot would record it correctly. Booking sheets were weighed down by layers of tippex.

From the perspective of the clubs he flew with, the concerns were even greater. There were no checks to ensure the correct ratings were in place for each flight, and so staff spent time consulting Instructors in this regard. Pilots with outstanding debts to the club would make bookings, and no automatic red flag would be raised. There was no audit history to ensure late cancellations were billed where appropriate.

Antony's frustration led to the creation of a simple electronic booking system that pilots could access remotely via the Internet. The subsequent growth of the system was driven by his close involvement in the club, together with an understanding of the requirements of running a business. Book A Flight was soon a fully integrated system incorporating everything from licensing details to invoice generation and more.

It was at around this point that other flying organizations started to show interest in the system. With a full time weekday and part time weekend job, Antony did not feel himself in a position to support multiple organizations. As a consequence, he sought a partner and established Book A Flight as a business.

Marc Gammon holds an MSc in Engineering from the University of Cape Town. He has worked in the IT arina for 25 years, specialising in large scale database applications, particularly those with web user interfaces. Marc runs his own IT company and recognized the potential of Book A Flight. He agreed to partner with Antony to market, support and enhance the Book A Flight product.

The system continues to grow, to meet the varied challenges of the different flying organizations where it has been implemented as well as to meet the requirements of any changes in flying legislation.


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