The Impact of FlightSafety International
FlightSafety International (not to be confused with Flight Safety Foundation) reached the milestone of its 65th Birthday. Founded by A.L. Ueltschi, the company bought a Link Flight Simulator and established a reputation as the premier business aviation training institution. Its impact on global safety is immense.
As the early flyers proved, training pilots in real aircraft could be very unforgiving if the student made a bad mistake. Various machines were devised to replicate elements of flight, but these relatively simple teaching platforms helped. However, they were not realistic enough to reach the level needed to provide a representative experience. The first true “simulator” was invented and introduced by Edwin A. Link in the early 1950’s. The sophistication in terms of the instrumentation, multi-axis movement, visual presentations, sounds and recordation made the experience at a virtual reality level.
The first major customers of this safety training devices were the airlines. With large airplane fleets, huge rosters of pilots and heavy regulatory requirements, it made economic sense to use these expensive machines. Simulators maximized the learning opportunities for their cockpit crews and minimized their removal of equipment from their scheduled revenue flights. The value to the airlines of this learning tool was well recognized.
The economies of scale for the purchase and utilization of simulators did not apply to business aviation. Most of their companies had neither the number of aircraft nor the volume of professionals needed to buy/use these marvelous machines. In spite of these unfortunate economics, the safety need for the training of their flight crews in the realistic, but controlled environment created by simulators was HIGH.
Flight Safety International created the financial solution. It bought the simulators and hired the trainers. It then offered airline quality training to the business aviation. The range of simulator aircraft types and the geographical distribution of its centers made it easy for BA pilots to get excellent learning in their company’s aircraft type relatively close to their corporate bases.
The company has located over 40 Learning Centers around the globe. It conducts more than 1.3 million hours of training each year. Their instructors are considered the best, most experienced in the business. The Flight Safety International fleet of 320 simulators keeps their customers’ skills sharp and their safety technique at the highest levels.
A.L. Ueltschi, today’s CEO, President Bruce N. Whitman and the entire FSI team should be proud of their contributions to global safety. Business aircraft operators should appreciate the quality of the training provided by this well regarded company.