UCF Business Incubation client looks to make contract piloting easy and trouble-free

Orlando, Fla. (May 24, 2023) – Every day, millions of people use tech platforms to find drivers, deliveries and much more. But when it comes to finding pilots for general aviation planes, it’s often unregulated, unreliable and difficult to use.

This month, Orlando-based Crewlink has launched a new platform that provides pilots and plane owners to connect when needed, but also handles screening, finances and insurance – at a lower rate than what is available in the market.

“As a pilot myself, connecting with airplane owners has always been difficult and filled with risk on a wide range of issues like non-payment, illegal charters and more,” says Benjamin Harrison, founder and CEO of Crewlink. “We’ve worked hard to make sure this would be a platform I would use to make my life easier and I’m confident we’ve hit that goal.

Harrison stated the business two years ago, but he started out using an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of the company’s connections. Since then, Harrison and his team have enlisted more than 1,000 pilots into their database, but by providing the service manually, the company was limited on how many trips they could manage.

With the new platform, the company can scale to 10x that amount immediately. So far, more than 50 pilots have integrated into the platform at the time of launch.

“I’m constantly looking for simple ways to connect with potential customers looking for my services and Crewlink makes the process of connecting very easy,” says Carlos Rivera, a contract pilot. “The experience so far has been seamless and I’m looking forward to growing my contract work as Crewlink grows.”

While the platform handles payments and other financial aspects for both sides of the match, one of the key parts of this is the credibility of both pilots and aircraft owners.

For instance, the company handles all compliance paperwork required by the Federal Aviation Administration, including a compliance statement that the aircraft is airworthy, that it is not being used for illegal charters and that the plane is adequately insured. Providing these services are critical, because, in many cases, if those rules are broken, it is the pilot who is often the first to be under investigation.

In addition, Crewlink is among the fastest to process payment to their pilots– with the new platform averaging around two days after the trip is complete – along with fees approximately half of the industry average for similar services thanks to the reliance on technology.

“As a pilot myself, I understand how any contract pilot is worried about these issues so it is a major part of our platform to give them the comfort these jobs will not result in issues,” Harrison says. “And for our aircraft operators, we provide the verification the pilot they contract with is adequately licensed, fully trained on their aircraft and has the experience they need.”

Harrison fell in love with aviation while growing up in England near one of London’s busiest executive airports, Biggin Hill. He started his career in the industry as an aircraft dispatcher with a local charter company and worked to get his commercial pilot’s license.

When that company closed, Harrison decided to move to Orlando, with Harrison working as a commercial pilot flying a wide variety of corporate jets.

The company currently has five employees with plans to increase to 10 to 15 employees over the next couple of years as growth continues.

For the incubation program, aviation-type businesses present a significant opportunity for economic growth in Central Florida, with one of the largest commercial airports in the world, combined with the area being a significant corporate destination from the convention center and other local assets.

Crewlink is a client of the Orlando Incubator, next to Orlando Executive Airport.

“There is a significant opportunity in Central Florida for companies like Crewlink and other technologies focused on the aviation industry,” says Rob Panepinto, director, Innovation Districts Strategy and Partnerships and Senior Strategic Advisor, UCF Business Incubation Program. “We hope with successes like Crewlink, more companies will see the value in investing in our region and really scaling this vertical.”


For more information please contact:

For the UCF Business Incubation Program: Michael Weiss, UCF Business Incubation Program, 321-281-8384, Michael.weiss@ucf.edu or Alan Byrd, Alan Byrd & Associates, 407-415-8470, alan@byrdconnections.com

About Crew Link:

Discover a new era in aviation recruitment with Crewlink, your one-stop platform for hiring contract pilots. Our suite of tools and features empowers you to find the perfect fit for your team with ease and confidence. Say goodbye to tedious searches and hello to a smoother, hassle-free hiring process—experience the future of pilot recruitment with Crewlink.. For more information, please visit FlyCrewLink.com

About the UCF Business Incubation Program:

The University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program is a community resource that provides early-stage companies with the tools, training and infrastructure to become financially stable, high growth/impact enterprises. Since 1999, this award-winning program has provided vital business development resources resulting in over 300 local startup companies reaching their potential faster and graduating into the community where they continue to grow and positively impact the local economy.

With seven facilities throughout the region, the UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership between the University of Central Florida, the Corridor, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia Counties, and the cities of Kissimmee, Orlando and Winter Springs. For the 2017/2018 fiscal years, the activities of these participating firms have helped to sustain more than 6,725 local jobs and have had a cumulative impact of over $725 million on regional GDP and over $1.3 billion on regional sales. During the same period, the program has returned more than $12.00 in state and local taxes for every $1.00 invested in the program. In addition, for every $1.00 of public investment the firms also produced $118 of additional regional GDP and $226 of regional sales.  For more information, visit www.incubator.ucf.edu