16: Rod Rakic - FAA Commercial Pilot & OpenAirplane Founder

16: Rod Rakic – FAA Commercial Pilot & OpenAirplane Founder

Listen to this episode below:

Rod Rakic Episode 16 Inspired Pilot Podcast Profile Photo

What does it take to become a pilot?  Join us as Rod Rakic gives us insight into his inspiring pilot journey.

Rod Rakic is committed to helping aviation work better. He’s the co-founder of OpenAirplane which makes renting an airplane as easy as renting a car.

Rod’s career spans twenty years of building businesses as tools to enhance and manage plans, a digital strategist, professional pilot, and user-experience nerd with a mission.

Starting Out

  • Rod’s family originated from Eastern Europe, in the former Yugoslavia. The airline rides were some of the most enjoyable parts of his trip when visiting the ‘old country’ when he was just four years old.
  • Growing up he wanted to become an astronaut, inspired by Star Wars X-wing pilots! Rod later had more down to earth aspirations of wanting to become a fighter pilot when he grew up.
  • Joined the Civil Cadet Air Patrol program when he was just twelve to fulfil his aviation dreams.

Initial Training Challenges

  • While training, a smooth landing on the main gear was not something he internalised completely where as he had put it, he did some “great approaches but crappy landings.”

The Aircraft TypesRod Rakic Episode 16 Inspored Pilot Podcast Side 2

Best Flying Advice

  • “Remember cockpit discipline; Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.”

The Journey

  • Rod was an Instrument Rating student for three years. He lived in Chicago where the weather wasn’t that aviation friendly so he flew to Los Angeles for a week to complete the rest of his IR training in one hit, to get it over with. Rods goal was to become a commercial pilot.
  • Joined the Civil Air Patrol, ranked as a Captain and tasked as the search and rescue ground team leader and rescue mission pilot.
  • Went to the National Emergency Services Academy to get trained up to be a mission pilot for search and rescue, reconnaissance, aerial photography, and other civic tasks.
  • Together with co-founder and pilot Adam Fast, they established OpenAirplane to make aircraft rental easier and accessible to all pilots. Their aim is to help pilots get increase the ROI (Return on Investment) of their hard earned pilots certificates and making renting an aricreaft as easy as renting a car.
  • 98% of private and professional aviators right now have access to renting an airplane through their insurance provider via Open Airplane.

Current FlyingRod Rakic Episode 16 Inspired Pilot Podcast Side

  • Still flying airplanes actively as well as doing cadet orientational flights and a bit of teaching with the Civil Air Patrol.
  • Rod is also doing some professional aircraft ferry flying.

Proudest Flying Moment

  • When he went on an aerial photography mission as a Civil Air Patrol pilot to help FEMA and the US Army Corps of Engineers by surveying the damages done by hurricane Sandy.

Future Plans & Aspirations

  • Have plans to acquire his CFI ticket as well as his multi-engine rating in the future

Flying Internet Resource

  • Youtube: Great place where you can experience flying, a great learning tool.
  • Foreflight

Best Aviation Book

Tom Wolfe began The Right Stuff at a time when it was unfashionable to contemplate American heroism. Nixon had left the White House in disgrace, the nation was reeling from the catastrophe of Vietnam, and in 1979–the year the book appeared–Americans were being held hostage by Iranian militants. Yet it was exactly the anachronistic courage of his subjects that captivated Wolfe. In his foreword, he notes that as late as 1970, almost one in four career Navy pilots died in accidents. “The Right Stuff,” he explains, “became a story of why men were willing–willing?–delighted!–to take on such odds in this, an era literary people had long since characterized as the age of the anti-hero.”

Favourite Cockpit Gadget

Interview Links

Rod discussed his current venture OpenAirplane through the following links:

Rod can be reached at:

Rod Rakic Episode 16 Inspired Pilot Podcast Bottom Photo