“Five by five” is a common phrase used in the aviation world to indicate “loud and clear” over a radio. Giving airplanes the “all clear” when they are moving around hangers or between the terminal and the runway is exactly what Fyve By, a new startup based in Atlanta, is trying to do.
Ground movement safety is a huge problem in the aviation industry. From commercial planes to private jets, it is dangerous – and expensive – to get planes from Point A to Point B on the ground. The annual cost of ground damage is estimated to reach $10 billion without any intervention, despite the fact that aircrafts themselves are getting more sophisticated and tech savvy.
“It’s kind of the hidden scourge of the industry. If you’re not in the aviation space, you never really think about it, because it doesn’t really make headlines. But it’s very common,” said co-founder Benjamin Youngstrom. “We’re providing ground crews with more intelligent views of the operating space right now focusing on the hangar, which is where the majority of that damage actually occurs.”
Using AI and IoT, Fyve By looks to “make people more intelligent” when it comes to how they move airplanes while they are on the ground. The goal is to ultimately expand the technology to improve ramp safety, which is a huge problem in commercial aviation and at larger airports.
Getting Fyve By off the ground
Youngstrom and his co-founder Preston LaVangie met while attending Georgia Southern and studying business administration and mechanical engineering, respectively. Youngstrom’s background in aviation led him to become acutely aware of the problems associated with ground movement damage.
The startup is currently headquartered at the Peachtree Dekalb Airport in Chamblee, Georgia.
Launching in Metro Atlanta was an easy decision for the two aviation-focused co-founders.
Aviation is one of Georgia’s major exports, and the state is home to giants in the industry like Gulfstream, Delta Air Lines, and large ground service equipment and other manufacturing companies that keep airports running each and every day. It is also home to Hermeus, an aircraft manufacturer building a hypersonic aircraft.
The Fyve By team has also jumped into the local startup scene. The team recently joined ATDC, Georgia’s technology business incubator. LaVangie called joining ATDC “thoroughly defining,” adding that their resources helped him really move from just thinking like an engineer into thinking “like an engineer running a business.”
“We’re surrounded by a community of aviation knowledge, expertise and tradition,” said Youngstrom. “That – along with being part of ATDC and the T-Mobile 5G accelerator – we’ve been very surrounded by a community that’s looking to nurture new technology, nurture the aviation industry. And so, you know, there’s no real better place to be doing what we’re doing than right here in Atlanta.”