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The Community of Flying

Steve Blonstein, General Manager WVFC

CASSi – A Final Act

Two commercials before I get started this month.

First, please take a few minutes to take the annual member survey.  The feedback is essential to our planning cycle for 2013.  It’s just 12 questions and should only take a few minutes to complete.

Second, our annual holiday party is Saturday December 1, 7PM at the Stanford Park Hotel in Menlo Park.  We’ll be announcing several awards including CFI of the year and the 2012 winner of the Gianni Memorial Scholarship.  We’ll have food, drinks, music, and dancing to keep the evening a fun event.

So onto the main story……

As many of you already know, we’ve been undertaking a 2 year long technology upgrade cycle.  The largest change so far was the new web site which rolled out in April of this year.  Now it’s time to tackle another big gorilla – our flight scheduling system CASSi.  We went through a multi-month project to define requirements for a next generation scheduling system along with reviewing all of the top offerings currently available in the market.  After careful consideration, we have selected Schedule Master from TimeSync. 

So you might be asking yourself why the need for the change.  There are lots of reasons, large and small but the decision is really dominated by 3 key factors. 

The first factor is hosting, redundancy, and backup.  Schedule Master offers a robust solution with the entire solution running in the cloud, something we are having all club software do moving forward. 

The second major factor is the need for an accounting and administrative front-end.  Schedule Master excels in this area.  Members will now be able to see their statements at anytime, set and change credit cards, make payments, process gas receipts etc.  It’s a huge leap forward from where we are with CASSi. 

The third major reason is speed and robustness.  Unfortunately CASSi has become very slow and unstable because of many customizations over the years.  We did extensively review the next generation of CASSi but unfortunately it does not meet the key needs as described here. 

So the bottom line is that we will be retiring Cassi after 2 decades of loyal service.  Like any technological shift, there are going to be challenges and opportunities.  We are committed to minimizing the issues that might occur in such a large transition and we’ll be providing extra staff to answer the phones, provide tutorials, and fix any unforeseen issues during the switch-over.  The goal is to implement this transition sometime in early January 2013.  We’ll keep you posted week by week between now and then and likely daily as the actual switch becomes imminent.