Spencer Irvine discusses market opportunities

According to Spencer Irvine, AirVentions  CEO, the opportunities for the GSE (ground support equipment) collision avoidance system have broad applications within the aviation industry. Addressing a group of student interns at his Boston Greentown Labs facility, Spencer stated “As we continue to assess and prioritize our opportunities, it is important that we identify our customer segments and allocate our resources accordingly.” Spencer summarized a recent article by Karen Florin (theday.com) which illustrates where AirVentions will also be well positioned.

Airplane Owner Sues Over Fuel Truck Accident At GON

Article Highlights

- A New York attorney has sued an aviation company and its owner for $1.5 million after his turboprop plane was rammed by a fuel truck at the Groton-New London Airport last summer.

- A fuel truck backed into the plane, knocking it off the chocks that had been placed against the tires to prevent it from moving and causing damage to the turboprop’s tail and fuselage, according to the lawsuit.

- The accident could have been easily avoided by using a two-person crew to back up the fuel truck, the lawyer (airplane owner) said. He said that since the accident, the aviation company has brought in a new manager.

- The owner said he does not intend to use the plane again to transport his family and thinks it would be difficult to sell. He would like “the fuel truck manufacturer” to purchase the plane for the its pre-accident value or fully compensate him for the repairs, his loss of use and the plane’s diminished value.

- The repairs are estimated at $400,000, according to the lawsuit. The owner is seeking $20,000 a month for loss of use of the plane and says its value has been diminished by approximately $690,000 as a result of the accident.


“Clearly, the advent of our AirVentions GSE collision avoidance system will prevent these types of accidents even in the absence of a “two-person crew”. Too often these incidents occur because of insufficient staff at times of operation. Adding our economical collision avoidance system to fuel trucks and other transport vehicles will address these issues and avoid costly repairs and possible litigation” Spencer added.

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Global market for airport airside services to surpass $42.8 billion by 2017

(Global Industry Analysts Report 2011) The global market for airport airside services is estimated to reach more than USD 42.8 billion by 2017, according to a new report by Global Industry Analysts. Airport airside services will be boosted by globalization, rising air passenger traffic and international trade. According to the report, the airport airside services market is broadly segmented by ramp handling and other services. Ramp handling, accounting for a major share of the global market, comprises baggage handling, freight and mail handling, parking, aircraft cleaning and other activities. Air travel is predicted to grow at a robust growth rate through 2020, with the world average growth rate of about 5%. The United States represents the single largest market for airport airside services, as stated by the new research report on Airport Airside Services.

More information on the report is available at: GIA Airport Airside Services Study.

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Spencer Irvine to be guest on WBNW radio show

Boston (MA) October 19, 2011 – AirVentions founder and CEO Spencer Irvine will be a guest on the ”Mind Your Own Business” (MYOB) radio show next week.  AirVentions makes collisions avoidance systems to prevent airport ground support equipment vehicles from damaging aircraft.

MYOB, a Boston area radio talk show, is hosted by Rick Brutti and Jeffrey Davis and focuses on entrepreneurs, their stories, and a host of topics of interest for entrepreneurial businesses.

Please tune in Monday October 24 between 2 to 3 pm on WBNW or stream it anytime thereafter at AirVentions Interview to hear Spencer’s segment (07:37).

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AirVentions finishing MassChallenge strong!

Boston, MA October 3, 2011 – The completion of the $1 million MassChallenge start-up competition is weeks away and AirVentions Inc. is finishing strong.  As explained by founder/CEO Spencer Irvine in his 60 second pitch to the committee, “AirVentions makes collisions avoidance systems to prevent airport ground support equipment (GSE) vehicles from damaging aircraft” (see video below).

As a finalist, AirVentions benefited immensely from mentoring and convenient meeting/office space provided by MassChallenge during the competition.  Winners will be announced October 24 at the Boston Convention & Exhibit Center.

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Logan Airport Safety Fair: 2011 Review

Boston, MA September 22, 2011 – AirVentions Inc. (AVI) team members attended this year’s Logan Airport Safety Fair which was held September 14, 2011 in Boston (MA) .  Fair attendees ranged from those working airside or landside with tools, ground support equipment (GSE), baggage or other equipment to operation managers and other safety specialists. The Safety Fair was sponsored by the Airport Safety Alliance Committee, Jet Blue and hosted by American Eagle.

AirVentions CEO, Spencer Irvine stated, “Our participation at this event was important because it was attended by many ramp agents, supervisors, and a few management level employees. Most of these are the workers on the ground and the value to us was getting their testimonials and real world feedback. Additionally, we wanted to expose them to our AVI collision avoidance system for ground support vehicles. Their responses buoyed us and clearly shows we are moving in the right direction as we bring our AVI collision avoidance system to the market.”

Current GSE Situations/Practices
It was clear from the attendees’ comments that airport ground support safety remains challenging especially with 1) the rapid response times required, 2) problems posed by unfavorable weather conditions, 3) outdated equipment and 4) inadequate training and procedures.

To paraphrase some of the testimonials:

Weather is a major factor for when we have incidents. From where you’re sitting the end is about 3 feet away, When it is extended it’s a good 8 feet. Now you have to maneuver this big bulky vehicle and position something 8 feet away by eye. Now add in nighttime, heavy rain, snow, loud noises….stuff happens.

A belt was raised up and dented the bottom of the plane; Total cost was a couple hundred thousand. We have maintenance trucks that are only a few months old and the paint on them is already scratched. Maintenance hits aircraft a lot.

Planes are always getting hit, we usually don’t report it. We give a quick look to make sure there are no serious dents or scrapes and keep moving.

[Our airline] always changes its procedure to try to account for damages. An accident will happen, and then they’re like well that didn’t work, so the procedure gets changed again.

Many of the jet bridges are old, maybe even from the 60’s. They cause a lot of damage. Belt loaders do too.  A jet bridge hit a plane and it was out for a week. It cost the Airline about $10 million.

Reaction to AVI Collision Avoidance Concept
Overall, the response to AirVentions Product Concept was very favorable. The fair attendees welcomed the novel approach and seemed comfortable with its ease of use. Importantly, they would be even more receptive if the following were affirmed/considered: 1) the system was sturdy and survivable given the environment it would function, 2) it would not slow them down especially given the tight schedules they currently function under, 3) further modification of system to address more loading situations and vehicles and 4) robust testing of the various alerts given the harsh ramp environment.

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AirVentions profiled by Mass High Tech

Startup Watch: Five companies you should follow

As part of each week’s Startup Report, Mass High Tech Business News highlights five startup companies and their business goals, and provides guest access to their company profiles in the New England Tech Directory.  We are pleased to have AirVentions among those profiled this week.

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AirVentions initial testing gets thumbs up!

Boston, MA September 6, 2011 – AirVentions Inc. (AVI) develops technology that offers practical, cost saving solutions for the transportation and aviation industries. AVI’s lead products focus on collision avoidance systems for airport ground support equipment.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Proof of Concept Testing:  AirVentions Inc. has fabricated a full scale model of an airport belt loader and integrated its custom sensor system into it.  Internal tests confirmed that we were able to accurately detect speed, distance, and trigger the appropriate alerts. See video.
  • Industry Discussions: AirVentions has entered into several promising discussion within the airline and freight industries for partnerships for our pilot project. We continue to be pleased with the positive feedback and support.
  • MassChallenge: AirVentions was named a 2011 finalist in the MassChallenge Entrepreneurship competition. During the summer we have benefited immensely from the many resources that MassChallenge has offered.

Next Steps (Goals)

  • Testing: Airventions will be conducting more testing to confirm the robustness of our product. Specifically we will be adding increased detection coverage, and designing initial alert systems (lights and vibration warnings).
  • Logan Airport Safety Fair: AirVentions will exhibit on September 14th at the Logan Safety Fair. This event will provide a great opportunity for AirVentions to gain visibility within the airport safety community.
  • Industry Partnerships: We anticipate securing an industry partner for our pilot project in the near term.
  • On Site Field Test: AirVentions will do on site testing with our model to test real airport conditions, and use the feedback to develop our prototype.
  • Fundraising: We are looking to secure additional capital for our upcoming field tests and pilot tests.

Management Discussion & Administration

  • Prototype: We continue to work toward our pilot project. After our next round of testing, we will conduct on-site field test at local airports. These tests will give us real world data for our prototype and will enhance the likelihood of successful pilot project.
  • Funding: We successfully completed our initial phase of funding in the product development (proof of concept).  Next we’ll be opening up a round to support the continued development of prototype and pilot project.
  • New Team Member: We are proud to announce that we have a new addition to our team. He brings a strong background in sensor programming, engineering and systems design. Our development has greatly improved since he has been on board.
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AirVentions selected finalist for MassChallenge

125 Start-ups to take MassChallenge

By Donna Goodison | BostonHerald.com | Tuesday, May 24, 2011

MassChallenge today announced the 125 finalists of its second annual $1 million start-up competition and accelerator program. The finalists range from high-tech and clean-tech businesses to life sciences and social impact ventures. They represent 19 states and five countries, including Kenya and South Korea, but the bulk were from Massachusetts. The finalists, who are offered mentoring and three months of free Boston office space at MassChallenge’s headquarters on Fan Pier, will compete for $1 million in cash prizes that will be announced in October. Last year, both $50,000 and $100,000 prizes were awarded.

Among the 96 Bay State finalists are:

AirVentions, a developer of collision avoidance systems for aircraft support equipment at airports;

• Eos Photonics, which designs and manufactures high-power, infrared lasers for environmental and homeland security applications;

• Precision Slip, which has a novel drag-reducing marine coating that significantly reduces the fuel costs and increases the speed of marine vessels;

• Therapeutic Systems, which has developed a sensory-based medical device designed to help people with autism break down barriers and become more engaged in life; and

• Blank Label, an online customer dress shirt retailer.

Picked after two rounds of judging, the finalists will start the Boston accelerator program on June 27. The program, billed as the world’s largest start-up competition for high-growth, high-impact new businesses, fielded a total of 733 entries — up from 446 applications last year — from 34 states and 24 countries. The most foreign entries were received from India, Canada, Israel and Russia.

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New Location for AirVentions Inc.

Air Ventions Inc., developer of collision avoidance systems for aircraft support equipment at airports, announced that the company has moved into its new Boston facility at Greentown Labs located at 337 Summer Street.

AirVentions CEO, Spencer Irvine stated, “Greentown Labs is a new 14,000 square foot cleantech incubator in the Boston seaport area known as the “Innovation District”.  The new space will allow more room for prototype development activities, support staff as well as ready access to valuable resources.”

Besides AirVentions, other anchor tenants include OsComp Systems, Dynamo MicroPower, Promethean, Coincident and Altaeros Energies.

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Automate 2011 Conference

AirVentions Inc. CEO, Spencer Irvine, attended last week’s Automate 2011 Conference held in Chicago.  Automate (held every other year) showcases a full spectrum of automation technologies and solutions.  This conference represented a good opportunity to assess applicable solutions to help meet AirVentions’ development needs.

Spencer stated, “The targeted applications displayed at the conference (at this time) were not wholly in-line with our specific needs which was expected. However, the technical advancements and innovations are consistent with our product development goals.  Several solid contacts were made at Automate 2011 based on mutual interests moving forward.”

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