The founder of WYP Aviation, Aaron Wypyszynski, pitches his wing board – a wakeboard-like attachment – on the season 9 premiere of Shark Tank.
Towing a wing board behind an aircraft with a rider is quite common.
A tow line attaches a wing to a tow line. A rider takes off behind a plane and uses their body to control pitch and steering.
The typical landing technique is via parachute, but a true professional may land behind the plane while still in tow.
Aaron began flying at the age of 12 and, when he was unable to qualify as an Air Force pilot owing to his height, he turned to design planes.
His primary profession is that of flight test engineer with a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering.
Kit Cloudkicker, the character from Disney’s animated series Talespin, inspired him to construct the WYP Aviation Wingboard.
Kit’s one-of-a-kind trick involved wakeboarding behind an airplane. Although the Wingboard is more advanced than Kit’s model, the concept is the same.
Aaron began the Wingboard project in 2013 with prototypes of 1/10th size.
The product is currently in “phase three,” which involves building a full-scale prototype and testing it in a wind tunnel.
It is unknown when or if the product will be accessible to the general public; however, it may be sooner rather than later if Aaron catches a Shark.
Will a Shark believe this venture will succeed?
What Is WYP Aviation?
WYP Aviation Wingboard is being marketed as ‘wakeboarding for the skies’ and has been in development since 2013.
Adventure fans will love this patent-pending board, designed to be the ultimate thrill ride in the sky.
Wingboarding aims to replicate the feeling of actual wakeboarding, except that you’re flying through clouds rather than water.
The wings are long and tapered to provide good aerodynamics, like those of a plane.
The rider stands on the platform with their feet restrained and grips a handlebar attached to a tow line behind a flying plane.
Wing boards take off alongside planes, carrying riders thousands of feet into the air.
A board’s parachute opens automatically at the end of a ride, securely lowering the rider to the ground.
|Company Name||WYP Aviation|
|Business||Adventure Sports – Air Surfing|
|Investment Seeking||$500,000 For 20% stake in WYP Aviation|
|Final Deal||No Deal|
|Episode||Episode 1 Season 9|
|Business Status||In Business|
Who Is The Founder Of WYP Aviation?
The wing board is a flying wakeboard manufactured by Aaron “WPY” Wypyszynski of WYP Aviation.
A flight test engineer and manufacturer of WindBoards, WYP has been involved in aerospace engineering since earning a master’s degree from Purdue University.
He believes WindBoards are the “next development in aerial adventure sports.”
WYP Aviation Before Shark Tank
It is worth discussing Wyp Aviation’s founder, Aaron Wypyszynski, before discussing other aspects of the company.
Aaron has discussed how much flight time one can manage as a teenager without being a military or commercial pilot since he was thirteen.
A passion for flying motivated him to pursue a career in the Air Force, although he soon learned that he was much too tall to qualify.
Aaron went on to graduate with a Master’s in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue.
He worked as a pilot test engineer following graduation, assisting in modifying and testing prototype aircraft to ensure they remained airborne safely.
WYP Aviation was developed out of his experience in this industry and his passion for all things aviation.
WYP Aviation was founded on the principle of pushing the envelope of what’s possible to do with air travel, especially in terms of recreation enjoyment, similar to the projects on which he worked as a Travel Test Engineer.
Only in 2013 will an authentic look at the Wingboard project be offered to the public, with demonstrations of successful model tests using 40% scaled-down versions of the device.
These initial tests were small but impressive, so the company advertised for consumer and investors’ interest.
By the end of the year, the company had successfully flown a model and regularly allowed flight testers to attempt flight in the wind tunnel.
They also adopted a commercial strategy that benefited other engineering firms by providing access to 3D printers and their comprehensive machine shop, which kept doors open and development flowing.
Wyp Aviation auditioned for Shark Tank just as Phase 3 (human, outdoor) testing yielded favorable findings. Let us take a look at what transpired.
How Was The Shark Tank Pitch Of WYP Aviation?
The tycoon behind the Virgin Airlines empire, Richard Branson, pays a visit to find out if he can enter any other business endeavors, while Daymond, Mark, Lori, and Robert are among the usual suspects.
It is stated that Wypyzynski intends to pioneer a whole new sport that is sure to be revolutionary as he enters the arena.
Aaron’s immediate goal is to raise $500,000 for a 20% equity stake in the company. The author claims that wing boards, similar to gliders, are revolutionary items since they allow people to experience flying entirely new ways.
The assembled investors are amazed by the demo footage of the device, but Lori sends a clear message that she is not interested in going on it.
Aaron demonstrates the agility in the test clip, suggesting that this would be a revolutionary new method to “surf the cloud” and appeal to a hitherto untapped demographic.
Lori is the first to ask whether the wing board will be used only for retail purposes (like the indoor skydiving centers that have sprouted across the country) or if it would be used outdoors alongside skydivers.
Aaron says that both are possible, with extreme sports fans eager to roll outside. Still, the current preference is for indoor performances, as outdoor concerts tend to garner too much media attention for present capacity.
There appears to be a quick search for vulnerabilities, as one of the sharks recommends that the media attention should not be spent owing to the possibility of fatalities, while another question Aaron to explain who is flying the board, which he admits is an articulated robot on a 40% model.
Aaron shows a real person riding aboard in a wind tunnel, which reawakens the sharks’ interest.
The technology resembles that of the Green Goblin in the Spider-Man films and television series. At the same time, another observes that it does not appear to be particularly enjoyable in the tunnel.
Richard Branson then asks Aaron how he became interested in this project. According to Aaron, the Wyp Aviation Wingboard was inspired by the show Tailspin’s opening. A character jumps out and effectively performs the same maneuver as he does on his board.
Branson, who appears to be the most enthusiastic about the proposal, then requests to join the board himself, indicating that he genuinely believes in the concept. Lori instantly exits, claiming it is too dangerous.
Aaron then promotes the idea that each two-minute trip can earn approximately $85. Still, the sharks recoil when they learn that each location costs between $4 million and $5 million, which is somewhat less than the cost of an indoor skydiving facility.
The other sharks rapidly follow suit, including Richard Branson, who finds it fascinating but not compelling enough to hand out half a million.
The primary disincentive seems to be that there was no actual benefit unless you were behind a jet, which would be extremely dangerous in and of itself.
Unfortunately for Wyp Aviation, they were unable to obtain the revenue they required from the sharks.
Final Deal: No Deal between Sharks and WYP Aviation.
What Happened To WYP Aviation After Shark Tank?
WYP Aviation has primarily fallen off despite its brilliant concept and potential for fun.
The company’s social media profiles show that their Shark Tank appearance was their high point, as their last Facebook post occurred the night of the episode’s broadcast, and their Twitter account has not been active since June 6, 2017.
There is no significant following for either, and updates are often elusive.
Wyp Aviation’s official website is similarly unclear, with each link to get involved leading to a form to sign up for the company’s newsletter.
The company has yet to buy its first indoor facility due to a lack of funding interest or investors, making it premature to call it a failure.
This could result from a keynote delivered during the show, which may still be valid now.
It makes sense that Aaron did not want direct media attention for a product that could not be delivered instantly to clients.
However, collaborating with significant partners such as Red Bull, Virgin, or other similar organizations may have been a better-starting step than pursuing the first investment independently.
There would be a problem in that the public would become too interested too fast. Still, that interest might be channeled to generate investor interest and drive the building of a facility.
Many would consider this a flash-in-the-pan strategy, with frequent media appearances and exposition essential to maintain interest and avoid a letdown on opening day.
Wyp Aviation’s future is currently uncertain. It has captured the public’s attention on numerous occasions, most notably on Shark Tank. Still, it has been unable to translate that attention into cash, even with a failed Kickstarter campaign in 2014 that raised less than a fourth of its goal.
Is WYP Aviation Still In Business?
Aaron indicated that an indoor air tunnel would feature a “full-blown RETAILTAINMENT” component as soon as it airs.
Both the wind tunnel and the wing boards have yet to materialize as of November 2021. The corporation, however, continues to operate.
This company creates prototypes of new aeronautical products, primarily for the government, and earns approximately $3 million annually.