a word from your captain

It all started with a hamburger stand. . . 

I am a fourth generation pilot, and was born to fly. My earliest memories are of my grandfather Albert Ueltschi flying his helicopter in for a landing on our front yard, taking us on trips to Florida in his plane, and telling tales of his days at Pan Am in the Clippers, Connies, 707s, and many more. He was my inspiration and greatest motivation to become a pilot, and I carry his lessons on with me every day, in and out of the cockpit. The name of the company derives from his own humble yet amazing beginnings. As a poor farm boy from Frankfort, Kentucky he had much greater visions for himself. Starting a small hamburger stand to earn extra money, he gained the attention and respect of a local banker. My grandfather, with his sights set on owning his own plane to continue his flight training, convinced that banker to use the hamburger stand as collateral on that purchase. He purchased a Waco OX-5 biplane and the rest is history.

The name of the hamburger stand was The Little Hawk.

Captain Al Ueltschi.  Founder of FlightSafety and my hero.

Captain Al Ueltschi.  Founder of FlightSafety and my hero.

On my father's side, his grandfather was an early pioneer of aviation, inventing, flying, and often crashing, the first American monoplane on Long Island just a few years after the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk. While I never met him, seeing his very familiar face in the Air and Space Museum many times was always humbling and inspirational. Dr. Henry Walden was a pioneer and not afraid to forge his own way forward and create paths where none were before.

Beginning flight school in 1989 at the age of 15, I soloed at 8 hours, and obtained my private at just over the minimum of 40 hours – having had to wait until I turned 16 to do so. Nearly every summer through high school and University I returned to Florida and the FlightSafety Academy to obtain yet another rating on my certificate. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1997, I became an instructor at the Academy. This was a crucial time in my career, as teaching others to fly exposes nearly every way to make a mistake in an airplane, and I learned at least as much as they did.

I took that experience with me to my first airline job in 1998, at Atlantic Coast Airlines. I spent the next 4 ½ years there flying the Jetstream 4100 as First Officer and Captain, and then the Dornier 328Jet as Captain. As a 25 year old, and much younger looking, Captain at a regional airline I was the subject of many 'Are you old enough to fly this thing?' questions. Turns out I was. After several thousand hours of flight time all over the Northeast and Mid Atlantic, I set my sights on a new kind of flying, and obtained a position at Netjets, flying the Citation XL and later the XLS. Eleven years of some of the most dynamic, exciting, and taxing flying out there. I visited every state in the lower 48, every province of Canada, much of Mexico and the Caribbean. Working out of small, often times unimproved and remote airports, I learned to maintain a level of safety and comfort that kept the aircraft, my crew, and passengers secure at all times.

But I found myself yearning to use my skills for something beyond flying within the structure of a giant corporation, merely another pilot among many doing a small part within a massive machine. Taking a lesson from my grandfather, I decided that in order to be happy I had to sacrifice greatly. So after many months of planning, research, consultation, and evaluation I resigned my position at Netjets and the security it offered. Having found a perfect aircraft to fit the mission I had developed and evolved over those months of work, I embarked upon the founding of Little Hawk Logistics, and the next and most exciting stage of my career. Partnering with the Meridian Air Group at my home airport of Charlottesville, Virginia, I bring a needed addition to their existing fleet. My experience flying in many different environments inside a structure of excellent customer service and safety is a natural fit for them, and I am very excited to work to make the company more and better than ever.

 

Dornier 328Jet and Cessna Citation XLS

Dornier 328Jet and Cessna Citation XLS

Education

  • University of Virginia
  • FlightSafety Academy
  • FlightSafety Recurrent Training
  • Simcom Recurrent Training

Experience

  • Captain at Atlantic Coast Airlines, Jetstream 4100 and Dornier 328Jet. 1998 - 2003
  • Captain at NetJets, Citation XL/XLS. 2003 - 2014
  • 7500+ hours of flight time, 6500 in turbines, 4000+ as Captain
  • 300+ hours of time in the TBM-850
  • Landings in every state in the Lower 48, most of Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America

Goals

  • Build Little Hawk Logistics into a regional provider of exclusive private aviation travel in the uniquely well suited Daher TBM-850.

Aiming for a growing fleet of TBMs in the future!

Aiming for a growing fleet of TBMs in the future!