Dear all, we finally did it! It has been a busy beginning of summer, putting all our efforts into achieving completion of our TC in time for GEMAB2023! And we did it, just in time, but we did it! Much longer and more complex than we expected, but... it is over now :-) THANK YOU ALL ! For me, it is the right time to say Thank You to all the people who made it possible. In the first place, my wonderful wife, who has shown relentless support all along, in particular during those hard times when I seriously doubted the viability of the project and my capacity to go till the end of it. Oh yes, I've not been far from giving up at some point... Then Thank You to the key people that helped along the way and behind the curtains, since, let's be clear, achieving a TC is not a one-man achievement at all. Without the skilled and competent support we received, we could not have gotten to where we are now. This Thank You goes in particular to B.S., who delivered a ton of work, wisdom, experience, solutions when I did not see any, and also friendship. Thank you also to the supportive personnel at EASA and FOCA. We know that they also had to go the extra mile for our project, and that we sometimes pushed them out of their comfort zone in regard to negotiating and accepting some of our innovations or alternative compliance demonstration proposals; also they, in their role as Authority, ultimately allowed to make it happen. Thank You to all of you who came to say hello and celebrate with us this milestone at GEMAB few weeks ago!
Thank You to those other balloon manufacturers that came to say hello and that had some kind words towards us; we appreciate that :-)
Last but not least, a very special Thank You to all the "early adopters" of our brand, your brand ;-) Due to the lack of certification, we surfed along the last dystopic years with a very minimal business level and a minimized infrastructure, but still, we've been lucky enough to have some very motivated customers who ordered DIY kits or motorized balloons in the French Classe 5 ULM category. This allowed us to "keep the ball rolling" while we learned from every product we delivered by integrating customer feedback, which has always been constructive, and we are very grateful for that, by the way. Today, we are lucky enough to be able to say that all of our customers somehow became good friends. They've not only got a cool flying vehicle, but they've got a bit of us, they've all somehow been a part of this story of vision, passion, commitment, and hard work. We intend to keep this human dimension and relationship with all of our customers, even in the next scaling-up phase of FlyDOO; it will be an important part of the challenge since we do not make balloons only for business but because we have a dream, a vision, and a certain philosophy of life. And because we feel that a success story has to be written day after day, balloon after balloon, customer after customer, friend after friend, with the pleasure of navigating along that road daily and not with a cold accounting statement far in the future of a business plan's spreadsheet.
Well, there is a lot of work in front of us, but we're out of the tunnel, we see a lot of light, and we are very optimistic about FlyDOO's future, as long as there will be humans in the world with the willingness to explore the sky, to dream, and to fly balloons— one of the most romantic ways to make poetry without words, by the way. Well, I make a certain effort to combine optimism and future in the same sentence, but I will try to leave "politics" out for a while (it might not be for long), despite the societal and anthropological challenges we are facing as humans and as a society. And I'm not talking about "climate" issues, for those who doubt...
Back to what's going on now and to what's next in the short term:
We're setting up our production approval with the National Authority to allow us to produce, release, and deliver our cool products starting at some point in Q1 2024 (delivery date of first production balloons).
We will move in the next weeks to a bigger new workshop on the airfield of Tallard, where we will be in a position to produce and operate nicely and to receive your visit comfortably.
Furthermore, we're already working to expand our range of balloons: the drawings of the 120 envelope (3400m3), with heavier, more traditional fabrics as an option, turning vents and RDS, have already been completed, and the demonstrator will enter the production stage any time soon. This will go in parallel with the development of bigger baskets and the new double burner.
We're applying for TC validations in the UK, the USA and Australia; some will arrive sooner than others, but we are committed to making our balloons available to all pilots in the world.
We're actively engaged in developing an active and motivated network of competent and committed distributors, which will clearly be the foundation of our success. We believe that FlyDOO can be as successful as our distributors are engaged, serious, and motivated. Furthermore, we are looking for candidates that understand both our philosophy, the point where we are today as a young company, and our willingness to succeed commercially, technically, and ethically, and that are able to put some time, efforts, knowledge, and ideas into making our road to success as exciting and rewarding as possible, for all parts involved, of course! If you think you fit the bill and want to get involved, get in touch with us today!
Reshape and boost our communication; yes, we've been silent for too long, and possibly we're paying a price for that. We are sorry for that, but this also allowed us to concentrate on achieving our ultimate goal, the TC. I hear it all the time: if you're not on social media, you do not exist. Well, we are ready to put in place the necessary means to challenge this, since in some ways we think... actually the opposite! It is some sort of political act, of course, and more explanations about the reasons behind this will follow soon. For now, just be assured: it has nothing to do with you, the people, or our many "followers" and "friends". But rather with the mainstream platforms themselves, their policies and the role they've played and are playing in shaping our society into something we don't want for us, for our children, or for any free Human. So, we just say "No"; we want to have full ownership of our communication, as we want to be owners of our lives. Socials are a great idea, they're very effective for a small company like ours (and we miss them and interacting with you!), but they just became an additional tool of manipulation and (oppressive) power. Please, do not take our choice as moralizing or as a judgment of any other choice or behavior, since this is not the intention at all here. We're just explaining or informing you about our choice, since it's not one that can be considered common or normal nowadays. Our action now is to update the website with as much up-to-date information as possible, make more frequent newsletters, and eventually launch a "FlyDOO Mag" (maybe also printed? What do you think?). It will cost us work, money and yet some more "out of the box thinking" to compensate for our absence from those mainstream channels (and we still have some road to go in that regard), but we are committed to that as much as we are to developing new products :-). Similarly, this also means that everything you will see coming out of FlyDOO, will be the work of a Human, not an A.I. tool of any kind. We commit to staying humans and to developing and improving our skills along the path of our lifes, instead of being diminished (and at some point replaced?) by the machine.
We'll see how this all works out. I guess it will be "interesting" for everyone to see. For now, we just wish to engage with renewed interest and support from you and the ballooning community. Please follow up closely, since WE DO (definitely) EXIST ;-) and we have a lot of exciting stuff coming along the way!
Definitely, exciting times ahead for ballooning! Stay tuned by subscribing to our newsletter!
And for any query, do not hesitate to write me directly at leandro (at) flydoo.fun or call me at +33-(0)614436693. Thank you very much for your time and support. Friendly yours, Leandro
PS: you can now engage by commenting our Blog posts too, by clicking on the "rating stars" on top! Cool ;-)