The Press Room
Recent WWAL Press Releases

Last Updated March 11, 2006


Welcome to the WestWind Press Room... Here are press releases recently sent to the virtual and other aviation media.

Click on the release of your choice...


WestWind's Founders Pass the Baton...

In a press conference at WestWind Headquarters this morning, WestWind Airlines' founders, Hal Groce and Sean "Crash" Reilly announced they were stepping down from their CEO and EVP of Marketing & New Business Development positions, consecutively.  In a formal ceremony, Groce and Reilly handed the keys of their virtual executive corner offices to Gene Popma and his outstanding management team.

"When we created WestWind more than three years ago, it was little more than a spark of an idea.  Since then, it has grown to become a bright star -- one of the most successful airlines in the virtual skies," said Groce proudly.  "We owe our success to the tireless efforts of the management teams who have worked with us through the years -- both past and present. WestWind most definitely wouldn't be the successful organization it is today without their contributions," added Groce.  "We would also like to acknowledge those outstanding pilots who have flown with us through the years.  A great group of individuals who made WestWind, and continue to make WestWind, one of the greatest aviation and flight simulation communities in the business."

"For Hal and I, WestWind was a hobby that quickly became a passion," added Reilly.  It was a grand adventure as we took our passion for aviation and flight simulation, and a rough concept of what we thought a great Virtual Airline should be, and molded it into an operation that, in many ways, set the standard for virtual airlines to follow.  Running WestWind was like raising a child -- exciting, challenging, sometimes draining and frustrating, but always -- always -- rewarding.  It was fun to watch the kid develop and grow through the years," joked Reilly.  "We would also like to thank the aviation and flight simulation community outside of WestWind -- including, but certainly not limited to, the flight simulation organizations and publications like MicroWINGS, Computer Pilot and Full Throttle -- who have given us great press through the years.  We were honored by their coverage."

"Sean and I are confident that we are leaving WestWind is in the very best of hands with Gene Popma and his highly skilled management team," said Groce.  "They have been handling the day-to-day operation of WestWind for the better part of a year (some longer, actually) and, in this time, have demonstrated that they're the best in the business. They share our overall vision for the operation for the present and the future."  "It would have been extremely difficult to step down if we didn't feel we were leaving WestWind in very capable hands.  Fortunately, this is not the case," added Reilly. "We expect to see WestWind continue to thrive for years to come."

When asked why, after three years and thousands of hours, they were stepping down form their posts at WestWind, Groce and Reilly both cited "family and real world responsibility reasons."  Hal and his wife are expecting their second child in a month.  Reilly already has three children ("WestWind was his fourth," he joked) and both have demanding real-world careers that are consuming increasing amounts of their time, leaving an

insufficient time to contribute to WestWind at the level they once did. "WestWind became great because we, along with our managers, poured enormous quantities of our time and energies into it.  We felt that if we couldn't maintain this level of focus and intensity, it was in the best interest of the operation to step aside and allow those who could, to run the show," said Groce.  "Our 'WestWind Widow' wives are very pleased to have us back," added Reilly.  "Hal and I have three years of "honey-dos" waiting for us. So much for retirement."

In closing, Groce and Reilly wished the entire WestWind community -- pilots and managers -- enormous continued success.  "Although Sean and I are stepping down, Gene and his team have graciously allowed us to retain our pilot numbers and keep our keys to the WestWind fleet of aircraft which we still intend to fly from time-to-time.  We do hope to see you all in the virtual skies -- especially around flyins and multi-player flights -- in the future," Groce said. 

*** end ***


WestWind's Web Site Eclipses the 4 Million Hit Mark (in jut one year)!

WestWind Airlines' EVP of Marketing & New Biz Development and Co-Founder, Sean "Crash" Reilly, today announced another milestone...

"As of April 11, 1998 -- exactly one year since we began tracking our web site's traffic -- we are extremely pleased to announce that the WestWind web site has received a total of 4,299,193 hits. According to our outstanding, Atlanta-based, ISP team -- vivid.net and The Calamistrum -- these hits conservatively equate to 1,253,705 visitors in this same slice of time," added Reilly.

"When WestWind first took to the virtual skies two and a half years ago, we couldn't have imagined the kind of traffic our web site would attract or the kind of success the airline, itself, would enjoy. We would like to thank our tireless and very talented staff, our dedicated crew of pilots and all our web site visitors for sharing in our virtual adventure," added Hal Groce, WestWind's CEO and Co-Founder.

Links to detailed statistics (including charts, graphs, etc.) on WestWind's web site traffic can be found at the bottom of the opening page. All virtual airline, flight sim and/or real world aviation enthusiasts are welcome to visit our site any time.

*** end ***


WestWind Airlines Recognized in GA Team 2000 ...

The February '98 issue of GA Team 2000 News mailed recently and WestWind Airlines was prominently featured on its cover -- complete with a web site screen shot. In an article entitled "A Web of Support," recognition was given to WestWind's continuing support of GA Team 2000's campaign to increase non-virtual student pilot starts. Specifically mentioned, was WestWind's "Be A Pilot" True Blue Club which lists the names of WestWind virtual pilots who took advantage of GA Team 2000's $35 introductory flight and details their impressions of the experience.

The article said...

"One such enthusiastic on-line supporter [of the GA Team 2000 Campaign] is WestWind Airlines (www.flywestwind.com). You've heard of fantasy baseball? This is the aviation equivalent. WestWind pilots fly virtual aircraft and even develop and manage their own virtual airlines. These folks are Flight Simulator whizzes, trading stick and rudder software secrets and testing the latest plug-in scenery and aircraft. Most of WestWind's subscribers are non-pilots who simply enjoy electronic aviation. But thanks to WestWind's enthusiastic promotion of GA Team 2000 through the hard work of Sean Reilly and its on-line "Be A Pilot" True Blue Club, several have taken $35 introductory flights, and at least two have soloed and are pursuing their Private Pilot certificates."

One "Be A Pilot" True Blue Club member is Pamela Kelmer. After reading her comments at WestWind's web site, a representative of GA Team 2000 contacted and interviewed her. Pamela's comments also appear in another newsletter article entitled, "Earning Her Wings."

GA Team 2000 News circulates to members of the non-virtual aviation community including both the program's supporting members (aircraft and avionics manufacturers, professional flying organizations, flight training universities, flying publications, etc.) and to more than 1,500 flight schools participating in GA Team 2000's program.

WestWind pledged is support of the GA Team 2000 campaign a year ago after Sean "Crash" Reilly, WestWind's EVP of Marketing & New Biz Development/Co-Founder, met personally with Jennifer Seaman, Program Manager of the GA Team 2000 campaign, in her Washington D.C. office. The two immediately recognized the symmetry. "GA Team 2000's mission is to increase student pilot starts and WestWind's mission is to foster a greater appreciation for, and understanding of, real-world aviation," said Reilly. "Most of our virtual pilots clearly demonstrate true passion for aviation. The next logical step was to -- through an on-line experiment of sorts -- see how many of these might be interested in taking the next leap into the "True Blue." In a year's time, we've warped close to two hundred of our pilots and web site visitors to the GA Team 2000's web site. At least 13 reported back indicating that they took the flight. Of these, 12 indicated that they plan to continue with flight instruction and, to date, at least four have soloed. Our little experiment has been quite successful," he smiled.

*** end ***


"WestWind Airlines Receives "Select Site" Award"

David White, webmaster of the Virtual Airline Homepage recently notified WestWind's CEO, Hal Groce, that WestWind is now a "Select Site" virtual airline. In a speech at WestWind's headquarters and training center, White said...

"Congratulations. Your web site has been given a Select Site award from the Virtual Airline Homepage. Our Select Sites represent the finest web sites on the Internet, and yours is one of them. Your site has been listed in our Select Links section at the Virtual Airline Homepage."

"WestWind entire staff is honored by this award. We would like to thank all who nominated WestWind," replied Groce.

To view the Select Site award and other awards bestowed upon WestWind, please visit our trophy case.

*** end ***


"WestWind Widows Club" Established... (January 15, 1998)

WestWind Airlines Management today announced the formation of the WestWind Widows Club. Established for those lonely (and justifiably frustrated) spouses of WestWind Airmen who have been known to spend countless hours with their eyes glued to their computer screens "playing pilot" the club is a place where they can come and "emote." In addition to posting their comments on a page at our web site, they can also say what they feel their virtual airmen should be doing instead of "playing pilot." Each wife's name is also an e-mail link so women in the club can contact each other should they wish to do so.

In a brief statement, WestWind's Exec. VP of Marketing & New Biz Development/Co-Founder, Sean "Crash" Reilly commented, "The Widow's Club is a place for our neglected spouses to come, share their thoughts about how insane their virtual pilot husbands are and read similar comments from others in their newly formed community." Reilly added that this concept was actually something that was on the back burner for some time. "We finally came to realize that the WestWind Widows Club was cathartic for our wives and, in the final analysis was more cost-effective than psychotherapy," joked Reilly.

To read the comments of our disgruntled non-flying spouses, visit http://www.flywestwind.com/widow/comments.htm

*** end ***