How did ELP’s CrewRules fill an industry need?
A story by Erwin Ponce, our president:
As you may know, this year we are celebrating our ten-year anniversary. During this time, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on what this journey has been like. I guess reflection is normal when you are facing a milestone such as this, and even more so with the current situation in the world. In my last post, I shared with you a synopsis of how ELP has evolved as a company over the last 10 years, and the ways we have stayed the same. Click here if you missed our story.
As I was writing our story, I recalled the crazy time surrounding the implementation of the 117 FARs. That really was the crossroads for us, where we veered away from consulting and sped straight into the wall of software development. And I mean high-speed straight into a wall! It was such an exciting, fast-paced, scary ride.
It all began with our friends at Hawaiian Airlines. They were looking for a solution as the go-live date for the new regulations was swiftly approaching. The rules were just announced, and the CMS vendors were struggling with short timelines and how to integrate a new foundation on an old infrastructure. As the news rolled-out, everyone in the industry, vendors, and carriers, were struggling to visualize what the true impact would be to their operation. What was clear, was the vendors were going to be pressed for time and a full, substantial solution was not going to be quickly available. So, they contacted us and told us exactly the solution they needed, which was very specific to their individual operation.
As I began to spec out the custom solution, I quickly recognized the problem the carriers were facing. Because of my deep-rooted knowledge in airline operations, my developer and I planned out a solution that would serve the individual needs for Hawaiian but also the rest of the industry. We had the vision to take what one customer needed and create the code so that it would serve not only their needs, but many individual needs. This became the basis for how we build software today. Our engines are uniquely built to have the flexibility as well as stability to serve the industry at large and the individual carrier.
“The implementation of FAR Part117 in January 2014, caused substantial changes to flight and duty regulations for the airline industry. Prior to the implementation of Part 117, ELP Aviation recognized an industry need for tools and programs to help manage through the new regulations. We thank them for their professionalism and knowledge during this unique period…”
So, we spent the next several months building the complex logic required to not only track the new limits, but also implement predictive modeling that would warn ahead of approaching limits.
“AhHa!” I thought. This is going to significantly transform how the airlines are currently tracking legality limits. The upcoming NACU was focused on the new regulations and its impact. As Hawaiian was the host airline, they presented our solution to their counterparts. Next thing you know, 8 airlines were lined up, and by Jan. 2014 we were about to go-live in production with 12 airlines. All at once!
At the time, I was renting a small apartment as our office and Jeff Aldrich, another airline vet, and my old boss, came on board. I kissed my wife goodbye and told her either this was going to be a success, or we will fall flat on our faces. I don’t think Jeff, nor I slept for three days that week. I mean an installation in a live environment is scary enough, but 12 at the same time. But I also knew my programmer and I were very diligent and with his expertise and my aviation knowledge, deep-down I knew we created a solid product.
I think this is where ELP’s reputation really took hold. The carriers took notice of our dedication and the quality of our product.
This is truly where ELP Aviation began. Thank you to all those that took a chance on a tiny company in the middle of Kansas. We owe all our success to you and we hope to continue to serve your needs just as we did in the beginning; one aviation vet to another.