For a recre­ational pilot there is nothing worse than being grounded, espe­cially when it’s the result of the high cost of renting an airplane.

Two North­eastern Uni­ver­sity stu­dents, Matt Voska, E’17, and Alan Guichard, L’14, believe their new plane-​​sharing web­site Fly­tenow is an easy and cost-​​effective way to get more qual­i­fied, licensed pilots in the air. It offi­cially launched Wednesday and seeks to pair small-​​plane pilots who want to fly with people who enjoy trips through the clouds.

It’s not really about travel but sharing the expe­ri­ence of flight,” said Voska, who grew up out­side Chicago. “Flying is unlike any­thing else.”

Voska and Guichard are both licensed pilots, and flying has been a big part of their lives since their child­hoods. Voska’s uncle took him on his first flight when he was 10 years old, and Guichard comes from a family of avi­a­tors, including his father who was a com­mer­cial pilot.

Upon moving to Boston to attend North­eastern, they found it was too expen­sive to rent a plane. After speaking with other pilots and flight enthu­si­asts in the area, they real­ized there was an oppor­tu­nity to pair them up—creating a part­ner­ship in which they split the cost to rent an air­plane and enjoy the expe­ri­ence together.

Our target audi­ence is anyone who has an interest in the joy of flying in a small air­plane, seeing the world in a whole new way, and get­ting where they want to go more afford­ably and faster than any other medium (region­ally),” Guichard, 27, explained.

From left, Alan Guichard, L'14, and Matt Voska, E'17, founded Flytenow, a service that links small aircraft pilots with consumers who want to experience flight outside of air travel and large aircraft. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

From left, Alan Guichard, L’14, and Matt Voska, E’17, founded Fly­tenow, a ser­vice that links small air­craft pilots with con­sumers who want to expe­ri­ence flight out­side of air travel and large air­craft. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

Here’s how it works: Pilots and enthu­si­asts sign up to be mem­bers of Fly­tenow and then pilots post ven­tures that pas­sen­gers can join—a tour of Boston, say, or a trip to Martha’s Vine­yard. Voska said Fly­tenow has a stricter policy for pilots than that of the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Admin­is­tra­tion; par­tic­i­pating pilots’ cre­den­tials such as license info and flight hours will be avail­able. Voska said they already have 150 pilots and 250 flight enthu­si­asts signed up.

One ideal sce­nario, said Voska and Guichard, would have a pilot and three pas­sen­gers take up a Cessna air­plane, an expe­ri­ence that would cost about $70 per hour per person.

Once you are a member you can go wher­ever a pilot is already going,” Voska explained. “Flying a small plane is just so dif­ferent. You feel so much more free up there.”

Guichard and Voska met last year while working at Carbonite—Guichard was on co-​​op and Voska an internship—and real­ized they were both pas­sionate about flying but frus­trated they couldn’t do it more often. They started working on the busi­ness in Sep­tember and have already received $500 from IDEA, Northeastern’s student-​​run ven­ture accel­er­ator, to help build the Fly­tenow web­site, and $15,000 from Dorm Room Fund Boston, another student-​​run venture.

Voska said they’ve received invalu­able assis­tance from Northeastern’s Entre­pre­neurs Club and IDEA during the devel­op­ment process.

I started up with E-​​Club my first week at North­eastern,” Voska noted. “I just love the envi­ron­ment and all the people in that orga­ni­za­tion, as well as at IDEA and the faculty.”

Right now Voska and Guichard are focusing on their ini­tial launch in Boston, but said they envi­sion taking the busi­ness nation­wide in the hopes of get­ting more pilots in the air.

I see Fly­tenow becoming a sig­nif­i­cant player in the gen­eral avi­a­tion com­mu­nity,” Guichard said. “In addi­tion, there is mas­sive poten­tial simply to get people where they are going more afford­ably and quicker than ever. I also see Fly­tenow increasing the amount of pilots in the U.S.”