Albert Lee Ueltschi

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Albert Lee Ueltschi (May 15, 1917 – October 18, 2012) is considered the father of modern aviation training and was the founder of FlightSafety International.[1] Ueltschi was once personal pilot to Juan Trippe and an associate to Charles Lindbergh. On July 21, 2001, Al Ueltschi was enshrined at Dayton, Ohio, in the National Aviation Hall of Fame class of 2001,[2] along with test pilot Joe Engle, United States Marine Corps ace Marion Carl, and USAF ace Robin Olds.

Life and career[edit]

Ueltschi was born and raised in Franklin County, Kentucky. He was the youngest of seven children of Robert and Lena Ueltschi. At age 16, Ueltschi opened a hamburger stand named "Kitty Hawk" across from a White Castle near his high school in Frankfort, Kentucky to pay for flying lessons. His first airplane, purchased using profits earned from Kitty Hawk, was a Waco 10. Ueltschi attended the University of Kentucky for a year but dropped out and instead started a barnstorming career, eventually teaching student pilots at the Queen City Flying Service in Cincinnati. On one occasion, he survived falling out of his airplane while on an instruction flight, parachuting into a briar patch while his student landed safely on his own.[3]

He began his career with Pan Am in 1941 as Juan Trippe's private pilot, retiring in 1968 at the age of 50. While employed with Pan Am, Ueltschi married his wife Eileen in June 1944.

He founded FlightSafety International in 1951 after noticing that corporate pilots did not receive the same rigorous training as airline pilots had. His first endorsement came from Juan Trippe, the president of Pan Am. He stepped down as President of FlightSafety in 2003, yet remained Chairman. The motto he started with still remains with FlightSafety today: "The best safety device in any aircraft is a well-trained crew."

He spent his winters in Vero Beach, Florida, but worked daily in the warmer months at FlightSafety's headquarters at the Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia Airport in Flushing, Queens, New York.

Philanthropy[edit]

Ueltschi helped launch and was a prolific contributor to Orbis International, a nonprofit, global development organization which operates a flying eye hospital (utilizing a specially equipped McDonnell Douglas DC-10) that offers sight-saving surgery and training to doctors around the world, and whose mission is to eliminate avoidable blindness in developing countries.

In 2010, Ueltschi cofounded HelpMeSee with his son Jim, to address cataract blindness in the developing world. Twenty million of the world's poorest people are blinded by cataracts, representing almost 50% of all treatable blindness. Taking the learning systems developed in aviation training, including very high fidelity simulation devices and modifying them for medical training purposes, HelpMeSee intends to train many thousands of cataract specialists to serve their local communities in the areas of greatest need.

On September 18, 2012, Ueltschi signed The Giving Pledge, noting his commitment to cataract relief.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "#258 Albert Lee Ueltschi". Forbes.com. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  2. ^ "Albert Ueltschi". National Aviation Hall of Fame. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "Unwelcome Silence - A legacy with roots in aviation's golden age," Aviation Week and Space Technology, October 29, 2012, p.20
  4. ^ The Giving Pledge