The Billionaire’s Club

FlightSafety International (FSI) founder Al Ueltschi has signed on to the Giving Pledge, becoming one of 92 individuals and/or families to commit half of their wealth to philanthropy. A long-term initiative to encourage charitable giving in the U.S., the Giving Pledge was launched in 2010 by Warren Buffet – whose Berkshire Hathaway acquired FSI in 1996, and Bill and Melinda Gates.

The Giving Pledge is focused on billionaires, but its creators hope it will spur giving by people of all economic backgrounds. Ueltschi was one of 11 new signatories to the pledge.

Ueltschi, 95, has had a lifelong affinity for aviation, soloing at 16 in Kentucky.  He gained experience through his own air shows, flight training and serving as chief pilot for Cincinnati based Queen City Flying.  But his flight time grew exponentially after joining Pan American Airways in 1941, and ultimately was selected to provide personal transport for the airline’s president and founder, Juan Trippe. 

It was during this time, at the beginnings of business aviation, that he realized these pilots did not have the benefits of the formal training that he underwent as an airline professional.  That was the inspiration behind his founding of FSI in 1951 at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

In addition to founding FSI, in 2010 he launched HelpMeSee, which is dedicated to helping people with treatable blindness. He also had been involved with the international flying teaching eye hospital Orbis.

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