Many airplane accidents occur on takeoff. To improve safety in private and commercial aircraft, AeroQuest Corp., of Wichita, makes an electronic system that monitors a plane's acceleration down the runway. Blinking lights tell the pilot whether a takeoff is going by the book. For example, cockpit instruments may indicate enough power for takeoff but not show dragging brakes slowing the plane. Aeroquest's machine detects the unexpectedly slow speed.
The last thing a busy entrepreneur needs is a banker who keeps "banker's hours." So CivicBank of Commerce, based in Oakland, Calif., equips most of its officers with pagers. Customers, mostly businesses with sales of under $30 million, can reach their bankers at poolside for a little light banter about overdue receivables. The bank also sends couriers to pick up deposits and make other transactions.
The airport hotel has taken on a whole new meaning at Los Angeles International Airport. Skytel, a 13-room facility in the terminal, caters to business travelers who need a nap and shower by renting its 73-square-foot rooms by the minute. The rooms, which have a single bed, pullout desk, and color television, cost $5.50 for 20 minutes, 25 cents a minute thereafter. To avoid any funny business, Skytel permits only one customer to a room.
When research and development stretches out over many years, market opportunities often disappear, as Philip Forgione discovered. During the energy crisis, he tried to create fuel from plastic and biomass. By the time he had a product, a synthetic wood, industry had plenty of oil to burn and wasn't interested. Forgione found another market, though. His company, Windsor Synfuels Corp., of Windsor, N.J., is selling the synthetic wood as fireplace logs and building materials.
Some people with enough money to buy a yacht are too busy to use it frequently. And many people who would like to use a yacht can't afford one. So Yachtshare Corp. of America, in Ashland, Mass., sells time-share segments in a yacht with a full-time captain and a mate who serves as a cook. A one-week segment costs $29,900 for both corporations and individuals. In 10 years, Yachtshare will sell the boat and split the money among segment owners.