Alaska-based Lake and Peninsula Airlines has been a family affair from the start, when Dave and Jacque Wilder founded it in 1992. Since then, it’s grown from a tiny operation using one Cessna 180, one pilot, and one dispatcher to a thriving business with five aircraft, four pilots, and upwards of 15 supporting staff. The air-taxi company adopted Spidertracks in 2011, and 2016 saw Lake and Pen Air (as it’s known by employees and locals) move into the hands of Lyle and Heidi Wilder — the son and daughter-in-law of LPA’s founders.
Since incorporating our software and system into their business, LPA has seen vastly improved efficiency and seriously happy customers. We’ll let Heidi herself offer a bit more insight into how Spidertracks has helped them fly safer and smarter, but here’s a little teaser: ‘Spidertracks is a great company, and we’re proud to be your customers.’ Read on for the rest!
Tell us a bit about your organisation. What do you do? How long have you been in operation? What’s your particular role within the organisation?
Lake and Pen Air is an on-demand air-taxi service. We fly when and where you need us — cruising all over Alaska to take people home, deliver groceries, transport work and building supplies, and undertake life-saving medevac flights to Anchorage.
We operate with an outstanding safety record, excellent customer service, and competitive rates, but one of the best things about Lake and Pen Air is that it’s Alaska-family-owned and -operated.
How did you become aware of Spidertracks, and when did you begin using us? What was involved in your decision to become a Spidertracks customer?
I’ve worked for LPA for eight years, and when I started we weren’t using real-time tracking of any kind. About two years into my tenure (around 2011), we started checking out tracking options. Someone mentioned Spidertracks, so we bought one. We quickly started seeing the effects that real-time tracking has not only on safety but on operations and logistics.
Instead of guess-timating, we were able to call clients with highly accurate times for aircraft arrivals. Spidertracks started to change everything for us, and as funds allowed over time, we purchased Spiders for each aircraft. We became hooked on the user interface, the customer service, and the reliable, accurate real-time tracking that greatly improved our operations and customer service, making every aspect of our company better. (Accurate arrival time estimates = happier customers = better bottom line.)
What Spidertracks features and functionalities are the most important for your organisation, and why?
First: The user interface. It’s easy to use, see, and understand, which is invaluable to our dispatchers when they need to quickly find out the location of a plane, where it’s headed, its ETA (for customer service and logistics), and its altitude and speed if a safety concern arises.
Second: The reliable and consistent GPS tracking.
What would you say are the biggest strengths of the Spidertracks system?
Reliable equipment. Great customer service. Fun, easy-to-use system and software.
What key issues for your business has Spidertracks helped with?
First and foremost: safety. We’re required to start a step-by-step process for assessing a missing aircraft 30 minutes after it’s overdue. With Spidertracks, we see a missing track right when it happens, which means we can start our safety procedures anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour-and-a-half before we’d be able to if we didn’t have a tracking device. This means much quicker responses to safety issues, which greatly reduces the risk of loss of property and life.
Second: operational logistics. Knowing where our planes are when they’re in flight is a huge help in coordinating our flights, customers, and freight. We actually don't really know how to do our regular day-to-day flight logistics without Spidertracks; the system is such an integral part of our day.
For example: a plane takes off from Anchorage for Nondalton, and about 30 minutes into the flight three people call wondering what time we’ll arrive. We ETA the flight (with Spidertracks taking into account important factors such as headwinds, speed, etc.), and we give them an accurate estimate. The customers are at the airport ready to receive freight when the aircraft lands, which saves tonnes of time and enables the pilot to take off again quickly and continue his run, which in turn helps keep us on-time and makes us look professional, organised, reliable, etc.
Schedule a demo to understand what Spidertracks could do for your aviation business.