The Pulse: Oct. 21, 2022

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  • 10°C: Mainly cloudy. 30% chance of showers late in the morning and in the afternoon. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High 10. UV index 1 or low. (forecast)
  • Red/Yellow/Blue: The High Level Bridge will be lit red, yellow, and blue for Craniofacial Acceptance Month. (details)
  • 6-4: The Edmonton Oilers (2-2) defeated the Carolina Hurricanes (3-1). (details)
  • 7:45pm: The Edmonton Elks host the BC Lions at Commonwealth Stadium in their final game of the season. (details)
  • 2pm, Oct. 22: The Oilers host the St. Louis Blues at Rogers Place. (details)

Brandon Kwong and Bradley Poulette stand in front of the Air Trail office on a downtown Edmonton street

Aviation software business takes off with regional pilots

By Brett McKay

Edmonton-based Air Trail has been quietly growing its airline business over the past five years, relying on referrals and direct sales to build its customer base among aviation customers who aren't on most people's radars.

"It's a pretty in-the-background type of business ... Regional aviation tends to be very focused on putting your nose down and just getting the job done," said Bradley Poulette, founder and CEO of Air Trail, noting that his company ends up acting similarly.

Air Trail provides compliance automation software that helps pilots and airlines track operational details that must be reported to regulators like Transport Canada, replacing the paper records or in-house spreadsheets companies tend to use for crew tracking, flight and maintenance logs, and weight and balance. The software is geared towards what Poulette called the behind-the-scenes but crucial operators that people don't typically think of when they think of an airline – medevac pilots, crop dusters, charter flights, and the like.

The company was part of the first cohort for the Alberta Innovates Revenue Accelerator, run by GrowthX, which helped the company grow significantly, COO Brandon Kwong said in a Linkedin post.

Sales cycles are long in the aviation industry, so some of the deals closed during Air Trail's time in the accelerator were already in the pipeline, Poulette said. "However, I will also say that there were opportunities that were in our pipeline that were stuck, that GrowthX helped us to unlock," he added.

Pilots often fly thousands of trips a year, with thousands more logs to complete for each flight. It's easy for mistakes to happen given the cumbersome and time-consuming paperwork mixed with quick turnarounds and packed schedules.

"For example, oftentimes someone could miss putting a signature on a document or put the wrong date or something like that. And it takes a human being to go through each individual record," Poulette explained. "So it takes a lot of time for these operators to go through and catch errors like that. Whereas Air Trail not only helps them to catch errors like that, but it also helps them to prevent errors that are easily preventable when they're being entered to begin with."

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Headlines: Oct. 21, 2022

By Kevin Holowack

An aerial view of the Edmonton Corn Maze, which is built around the Edmonton Elks logo

Weekend agenda: Oct. 21-23, 2022

By Debbi Serafinchon

This weekend sees a dancing end to Edmonton Startup Week, the finale for a tough CFL season, and the last chance to navigate this year's corn maze. Like beginnings more than endings? A new-to-you outfit awaits you at a clothing swap, or get in on a celebration of Edmonton's maker movement.

Find even more things to do in the Arts Roundup.

Photo: The Edmonton Corn Maze, cut in the shape of the Edmonton Elks logo, ends its season shortly after the team's final game of 2022. (Edmonton Corn Maze)