The UK’s number one flying school is now letting wannabe pilots pay in bitcoin.
The North London Flying School in, you guessed it, North London took the step in November and is using Coinbase to process bitcoin payments.
From leisurely flights in a two-seater Piper Cherokee to full-on acrobatic experiences in a Extra 300L, the school offers a range of options for bitcoiners wanting to get up into the air.
Like many bitcoin-accepting businesses, the school began taking the currency after one crypto-curious employee took the initiative.
General Manager Gavriel Merkado explained: “I had been keeping track of the rising popularity of bitcoin and proposed to the company director the idea of accepting payments in bitcoin.”
Only a handful of the products on their website can currently be purchased with bitcoin, but they can do payments in person for any of their products – if Merkado is there that is:
"If an aircraft landed and the pilot bought some fuel, it is simple to pay with a credit card and anyone can handle the transaction. If they want to pay with bitcoin then I need to be around, as the others haven't been shown what to do."
Which would seem to be in keeping with Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam’s recent comment that “99.9% of merchants do not currently accept bitcoin or have a good understanding of what it is.”
So far the school hasn’t had any customers pay in bitcoin, but Merkado says he’s optimistic about the broader question of bitcoin’s acceptance as a currency:
“In order for a 'thing' to be a currency it has to have certain prerequisites, it has to be limited, it has to be hard to fake, it has to be easy to store, it has to be easy to transfer and it has to be generally accepted. In my view, bitcoin beats all other traditional currencies in the first four categories."
The North London Flying School isn’t the only place you can use your bitcoins to get up into the air. Just 20 kilometres outside of Bratislava, Slovakia, the PilotClub, a family-run business, began accepting bitcoin at the end of 2013. They take customers up in a "small sports airplane", which PilotClub's Norbert Chromek says makes all the difference:
"We definitely recommend you to try this type of adrenalin because, believe us, it’s a huge difference between flying with an airline and small sport airplanes."
Images via North London Flying School and PilotClub