Launching this week, SKYRYDE is a flying taxi service that helps commuters and other travelers schedule and take on-demand direct flights between regional destinations. Initially launching routes throughout Southern California, SKYRYDE combines commercial pilots with privately-owned 4-passenger aircraft to give consumers an alternative to the headache of driving in heavy traffic at prices that are just a bit more than what it might cost for an uber or lyft. This unique model for air travel allows the service to adapt to the dynamic scheduling needs of executive and corporate commuters, while also offering the scalability to accommodate a growing base of diverse users.
Understandably, many potential fliers raise the pragmatic question: ‘can a flying taxi be safe?’ SKYRYDE’s craft and pilots uphold and adhere to the same FAA standards and inspections as major airlines. JB Adkins, CEO & founder, noted, “Safety is the most important thing. We are technically an airline: we operate the same way an airline does, and adhere to the same heavy regulations, only with smaller aircraft. Our pilots are all experienced, commercial professionals. Consumers will make a natural comparison to Uber, though due to the FAA, we are much more heavily regulated, with additional checks and balances for safety.” The firm’s goal is to build a reputation for reliability in the local community and within the aviation industry.
As adoption grows for SKYRYDE, the firm plans to eventually transition from small aircraft, such as the Cessna 182 Turbo, toward more efficient and innovative aeronautical technology. The next phase of development will shift toward the implementation of light and efficient helicopters, followed by the integration of Electric VTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) drones, which is planned by Uber’s Elevate service, their own entre into the space. Uber and other competitors in the space are pursuing similar models, but are waiting until regulations evolve to support the next generation Electric VTOL technology. SKYRYDE is proving the flying taxi concept early with traditional smaller commercial passenger planes and pilots to gain an early following, along with trust with regulators and consumers, fostering a seamless transition toward emerging technology. The company is supported by the same legal team that represents Uber Elevate and Blade.
SKYRYDE intends to build awareness of sky taxi potential and establish the validity of the service model within the passenger flight arena. “There are airports everywhere and that’s part of the education: almost everybody in LA lives within 7 miles of a general aviation (GA) airport,” related Adkins. Adkins, a dedicated aviator and entrepreneur, started flying lessons at 11 years old in Georgia, paying his own way with money saved from cutting grass. At age 12, he drafted his first airline business plan, and earned his pilot’s license while attending high school. He also graduated from cutting the grass to offering to fly passengers routinely to nearby Panama City, FLA, his first attempt at the air taxi concept before Uber, Lyft or the sharing economy existed. In recognition of his passion and commitment to aviation, Adkins was awarded a full Marine Corps Scholarship to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, known by many as the best flight school in the U.S. but he eventually withdrew to pursue his vision of creating an on-demand sky taxi experience.
SKYRYDE offers online booking for on-demand flights out of general aviation airports in locations including Santa Monica, Van Nuys, Long Beach, Burbank, Palm Springs, Whiteman, Santa Ana, Hawthorne, Torrance, Santa Barbara, Fullerton, Carlsbad, and Camarillo. Flight are available for 1-3 passengers with scheduling up to 3 days out.