First, some stats: Our flying in 2021 is approximately 20% lower than the 1st 3 months of 2020. Last year we had flown 22K hours through end of March, and this year we are just over 18K hours. Flights are down from 6.3K to 4.9K YTD. Obviously last year we were all stuck at home, and I am happy to see our numbers lower if that means we are all getting back to normal from COVID.
Second, new web site: We’ve had some turnover in our IT team since February. Nic is no longer on the team, but fortunately, Justin Austin has stepped in and is doing a great job. Justin built the original VUAL website when this VA was founded (and is the site you are using today). Even though we lost a lot of new site development with Nic leaving, Justin has really got to work fast on some significant enhancements. Here is a brief overview of what you can expect:
1. VUAL will launch a Discord server. The demo is almost ready for release. We will also be keeping the Teamspeak for those pilots who prefer that platform
2. Our new site will be moving to a new domain (new one is already registered)
3. The new site will have a completely different look and feel with many improvements. It will run on the same backend as our current site. Some enhancements include, newer maps, better flight tracking, etc.list=]
Third, donations: The last time the VA opened up our donations page was back in 2019. The response was so overwhelming from the pilots and staff, that the approximately $1200 of contributions you all made lasted over 2 years! The annual cost to run the VA is approximately $500 (domain registration, hosting services, phpVMS, TS, schedule updates, etc) . We are currently at our reserve level of $200 in the account so I would like to ask for any support you can provide to help pay the bills. Please be advised that no purchases are made without the approval of myself, Garfield (COO) and Justin (IT). Thank you in advance for your continued support. The donation button is on the home page. Any amount is greatly appreciated, especially in these tough times.
Sorry for the rather long e-mail this time. As you can see there is a lot going on behind the scenes, and we can’t wait to get some of these enhancements out to you all. I’ve been talking about some of this web site stuff for over a year now, and I think we are finally closing in on the launch.
See you in the skies!