FlightSafety Dassault Falcon 2000lxs sim

FlightSafety International

What It Is: FlightSafety International, a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, provides flight training and simulators for business aviation, as well as for civil, military, and government use. 

How It Grew: After former barnstormer and Pan American World Airways pilot A.L. Ueltschi was tapped to fly Pan Am founder Juan Trippe’s personal transport, he discovered the world of business aviation and its need for professional training. In 1951, using just one rented Link trainer, he founded FlightSafety at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (where it is still based today).

The 1960s saw the company open Learning Centers in Houston; Vero Beach, Florida; and Long Beach, California. Also in that decade, its first type-specific trainer entered service; it was designated as a factory-authorized training provider for Dassault Falcon, Gulfstream, and Learjet; and in 1968, it made its initial public stock offering.

The company changed its name to FlightSafety International in 1973, and by the mid 1970s, it operated more than a dozen Learning Centers, including locations in Canada and Europe, and was a factory-authorized training provider for 11 aircraft manufacturers.

The 1980s began with Flight Safety’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange, and by decade’s end the company operated more than 30 Learning Centers and was the factory-authorized trainer for 20 fixed- and rotor-wing manufacturers. Expansion of its training locations and offerings continued in the following decade, as flight-dispatch, cabin-attendant, and master-technician training joined the curriculum; the company also made strategic acquisitions of complementary service and technology businesses. By the mid 1990s FlightSafety operated more than 100 simulators for more than 50 aircraft types and trained over 50,000 pilots and maintenance technicians annually. Berkshire Hathaway acquired the company in 1996.

In this century’s first decade, more than a half dozen Learning Centers opened; the company launched eLearning training (2007); and the HondaJet joined the roster of aircraft for which it provides factory authorized training. 

Along with new Learning Centers, current decade highlights include the debut of factory-authorized training for new aircraft such as the Pilatus PC-24, Gulfstream’s G500 and G600, and Dassault’s Falcon 8X; and the introduction of Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (2015), Unmanned Systems Training (2018), and safety and security training for flight crews and passengers (2019). Ueltschi passed away in 2012.

What It Offers:

Training. FlightSafety provides some 1.3 million hours of instruction annually to pilots, technicians, and other aviation professionals; and more than 4,000 courses and training for about 135 aircraft types.

Simulators. The company operates more than 300 full flight simulators at its Learning Centers and has delivered about 800 flight simulators and advanced training devices.

Recent News: In October, following introduction of the G700, Gulfstream Aerospace named FlightSafety a factory-authorized training provider for the aircraft.


Founded: 1951

HQ: LaGuardia Airport, New York

Employees: more than 4,500

Instructors: more than 1,800

President and CEO: David Davenport