AIRCARE INTERNATIONAL HISTORY AND CHRONOLOGY
Aircare International, based in Tacoma, Washington, is an aviation industry leader in the areas of cabin and cockpit safety training, crew staffing and medical supply and services. Aircare International provides FACTS™ safety and emergency training (originally Flight Attendant and Crew Training Seminars) for pilots, flight engineers, flight attendants and executives who work in or frequently utilize business aviation. Aircare FACTS Training is based on years of research on “human factors” by founder H Beau Altman, who took his research on human behavior and paired it with practical aviation safety training. FACTS is considered the gold standard of safety training in business aviation.
Aircare International’s three main branches of business are Aircare FACTS flight crew member safety training, Aircare Crews Staffing, which is professional and contract staffing solutions for business aviation, and Aircare Access Assistance, which supplies medical support and supply to the b usiness a viation and maritime industries. Aircare’s medical supply business expands into a number of small sub-brands familiar to niche industries. It sells to the commercial maritime industry branded Lafferty’s EMS, while Aircare serves pleasure craft under the Aircare Access brand name. It also maintains wholesale pharmacy and Part 121 repair station licensure as Majestic Aerotech, which supplies and refurbishes medical equipment for commercial carriers worldwide.
Today (Q2 2023) Aircare International trains over 3500 crew members a year, supplies medical equipment and support to thousands of aircraft and maritime entities (boats, ships, and processors), and provides temporary personnel support to over a hundred flight departments.
Aircare International is a member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), the Flight Safety Foundation, the Air Charter Safety Foundation and the International Standard Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO). Aircare International partners with CAE, Inc. (formerly Canadian Aviation Electronics) as their preferred safety training partner. Aircare International is a direct supplier to Dassault Aviation, Bombardier and Gulfstream.
The foundations for the first aviation safety training programs, FACTS™ and PAXSAFE™ , came from Dr. H. Beau Altman's early work in aircraft crew training and passenger safety research at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft (1967-1973) in Long Beach, CA with another peer, Dr. Daniel Johnson Ph.D. FACTS’ founder, Altman, received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Claremont Graduate University in 1975. His Ph.D. d issertation was The Use of Pictorial Materials in Aircraft Passenger Safety Instruction. Prior to this, in 1972, Altman co-designed the first non-verbal pictogram passenger safety briefing card, which was endorsed almost immediately by aviation industry experts and was used on Chrysler Corporation’s business aircraft with great reception. Various versions of Altman and Johnson’s non-verbal safety briefing cards are still the standard for most airlines today. With his safety training and “human factors” research background, Altman established H. Beau Altman Corporation, aka HBAcorp in 1982. The objective of HBAcorp was to produce aviation safety related instructional and training programs. To accomplish this objective, HBAcorp became a joint-venture partner with Chrysler Pentastar Aviation, a corporate air transportation division of Chrysler Corporation, headquartered in Michigan. The initial FACTS training programs were conducted at Pentastar facilities at Oakland Airport, Michigan. With formulation of a partnership and licensing agreement, HBAcorp relocated to Olympia, Washington and re-established as a Washington State corporation. Altman was now providing FACTS beyond Pentastar Chrysler for all in the industry as HBAcorp.
Dr. Altman took his internationally recognized authority in human factors, stress management, crewmember emergency training and passenger safety instruction to three locations in the early 80’s: Long Beach, Detroit and Olympia.
In May of 1987, the joint-venture partnership of HBAcorp and Chrysler Pentastar Aviation was dissolved after nearly five years of research, development and successful production of products and services. The dissolution came as a mutual decision based on Chrysler Pentastar's desire to concentrate all efforts on aircraft charter and maintenance, and HBAcorp's desire to continue with safety training and education programs. HBAcorp took over full ownership of copyrighted FACTS publications and programs. Immediately following the partnership dissolution, HBAcorp expanded the FACTS training program to the McDonnell Douglas Aircraft training facility in Long Beach, California and expanded the reach into aviation safety. HBAcorp integrated the use of a motion-based aircraft cabin simulator into the FACTS curriculum; and, instead of four programs a year, scheduled six per year. Additionally, major curriculum changes were made to the FACTS program, audiovisual training aids were updated, and the manual was considerably reformatted and formatted for widespread use within the business aviation industry.
In 1987, training was further developed with a MD-80 Cabin Trainer (leased from McDonald-Douglas). named FACTS I, Altman remained involved in the evolution of crewmember and passenger safety and built the training business that would evolve into Aircare FACTS Training. Through the initial few years, FACTS conducted 4-7 programs per year. Doug Mykol joined the company as a f irst a id Instructor and assisted with the training as required. With increasing responsibilities and experience, Mykol began to design the prototype of a completely mobile, full-size training asset dedicated to corporate aviation training.
In 1994, FACTS II was completed as the first mobile, cabin-class, cockpit and cabin aircrew emergency procedures simulator. The training device was used at scheduled FACTS classes and at on-site training programs at client facilities. On returning from an on-site training program in Houston, Texas, a drunk driver , crashed into several vehicles and destroying FACTS II. Mykol and a helper quickly designed and built the improved mobile, cabin-class, cockpit and cabin aircrew emergency procedures simulator, FACTS-III.
For many years, Mykol, another instructor (Tony Adamski) and FACTS III traveled the country on a schedule, training at a variety of venues, including San Francisco, Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago, Atlanta, D.C., Teterboro and on-site training throughout the country. Clearly the heir-apparent to Altman’s training endeavor, Doug Mykol established and incorporated Aircare International LTD in 1997 to facilitate an ownership transition of FACTS in the works.
While working with FACTS clients, Mykol began researching the possibility of forming an InFlight Telemedical service to compete with existing services. Not wanting to just be another “link” to a doctor, Doug formed AirCare International, Ltd., expanded the services offered and developed Aircare ACCESS Assistance. The first ACCESS client was signed in 1997, and Dr. Brad Waite was established as Aircare’s first Medical Director.
1997 also brought an agreement with SimuFlite to begin offering regularly scheduled FACTS programs at SimuFlite’s DFW training center. Mykol also built an additional mobile simulator, FACTS IV, which represents light and mid-size jets and expanded scheduled training to include 17 “hub cities” across the U.S. and Canada.
In 1998, Mykol and AirCare International, Ltd. purchased FACTS Training to merge the companies into the largest emergency training and service company in the world, also expanding the number of FACTS classes to over 60 weeklong classes per year.
Scheduled classes expanded in 2000 to include over 75 FACTS classes in hub cities across the U.S. and the fourth mobile, cabin-class, cockpit and cabin aircrew emergency procedures simulator (FACTS-VI) was built and designed and is based at the DFW Training Center (SimuFlite).Scheduled classes expand in 2001 to include over 100 FACTS classes in hub cities across the U.S. and Canada.
In 2002, p ne- and two-crew portable Inverted Underwater Dunkers were designed and Underwater Egress Training was added to all FACTS programs. The Aircrew Combative Training (ACT™) program for personal security was added to all scheduled FACTS classes.
AirCare International Ltd . formed the DBA AirCare Solutions Group to encapsulate its expanding product and service offering. The company grew the FACTS training product to include psychology and crew team building courses, flight attendant service courses and additional emergency and medical courses. AirCare Solutions Group also includes emergency and safety products, and crew and flight operations staffing, technical documentation creation and consulting for FARs.
In 2004, AirCare Solutions Group moved to headquarters in a new waterfront office building in Olympia, WA. Aircare International, Ltd. formed AirCare Aircrews, LLC, to purchase a contract Flight Attendant staffing business called Air Elegance, Inc. in Santa Ana, CA. The acquisition was made, and the name changed to AirCare Crews.
With FACTS, AirCare Crews, ACCESS as products owned by AirCare Solutions Group, and working in strategic partnerships with other companies, AirCare Solutions Group of Companies turned to the market to expand their reach under the leadership of Mykol.
In 2005 FACTS Training introduced Reduced Oxygen Breathing Devices for all FACTS classes,and introduced the first and only Hypoxia Awareness Training for all crewmembers in business aviation. 2007 saw the opening of a new NE Training Center in Morristown, NJ (MMU) in partnership with Simuflite/CAE. The company installed FACTS VII Aircrew Emergency Procedures Simulator at the FACTS NETC , and was chosen to provide initial training for all Dassault 7X aircrews, and was asked by Dassault to provide Familiarization & Delivery/Acceptance training for all Dassault 7X aircrews. Mykol also installed a Boeing 737 Door/OWE trainer at NE Training Center, and moved AirCare Crews to the Olympia headquarters.
Later in 2007 former owner of Majestic Aerotech, Inc, (Eatontown, NJ) approached Mykol about buying his company that was focused on the sale and refurbishment of commercial airline medical kits. After many months of negotiating, a new Washington corporation was formed by partners, Doug and Dorene Mykol and Dr. Brad and Ginger Waite, who had been both working with AirCare since its inception. The new corporation purchased and moved the operation to Olympia, WA in August of 2007.
In 2008, Aircare opened its first independent training center (independent from Simuflite/CAE) as the West Coast Training Center in Long Beach, CA (LGB). The center featured Boeing 737/BBJ Door and Exit trainers, Door/Over Wing Exit trainers, and on-site Hypoxia Awareness Training. Aircare was also chosen to train all USAF Gulfstream and BBJ crews in a big contract win for the little company. Aircare also designed AirCare Diagnostic Kit for ACCESS clients, as well as the EMK (Emergency Medical Kit) that is seen on almost every business aviation aircraft today.
FACTS was sold with AirCare Solutions Group in 2010 to holding company Stub Farlow LLC, Medina, WA. Aircare acquired new leadership in Jeff Roberts, and its training footprint expanded quickly expanded into a CAE Training center in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The Aircare management team moved away from the name AirCare Solutions Group in 2012, and the company rebranded back to Aircare International. The name change brought with it a new logo and approach to communicating with its customers as products rather than companies. Aircare International was now the provider of Aircare FACTS Training, Aircare Crews Staffing and Aircare Access Assistance.
With the business and team expanding, Aircare International moved its office to Tacoma, WA, in 2014 where the physical footprint of the office nearly doubled, and the Communications Center for Aircare Access could be properly provisioned. FACTS Training expanded its offering to include not only multi-day recurrent and initial training programs for all aircrews (pilots and flight attendants), but expanded its offering with CAE to offering the One-Day-Pilot training program. This course was specifically designed for pilots to efficiently receive the compulsory EPT and Medical Training while conducting their flight training at one of the CAE centers. With increased interest in Aircare’s medical training and supply business expanding, Aircare International purchased another wholesale pharmacy (the original being Majestic Aerotech) in 2015 called Lafferty’s EMS. Where Majestic/Access was supplying the airline and aviation industry, Lafferty’s opened the business up to commercial maritime with an established partner to many in the commercial fishing, oil and gas exploration and logistics business that flows into the Pacific Northwest/Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. The expansion allowed Aircare to solidify and expand supplier relationships, while also expanding its physical footprint with a small office in Ballard, WA.
In 2017 FACTS Training decided to leave the Long Beach Airport and to relocate its independent training center in the Los Angeles area to Van Nyes, CA, which is arguably the busiest business aviation airport on the West Coast. The move expanded the training center to three classrooms and a dedicated kitchen, as well as the construction of a brand-new building inside of the VNY airport fence dedicated to Aircare’s training assets. Shortly thereafter, Aircare made the same commitment to Southern Florida when it opened its training center inside the fence at Ft. Lauderdale International Airport (FXE). With cooperative relationships in the New York area (MMU), DFW, Chicago (DPG) and the two new centers in VNY and FXE, Aircare FACTS Training was conducting classes in at least five locations around the country every month, with additional offerings in Seattle, Las Vegas, the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
Aircare eventually outgrew its headquarters in the Tacoma Dome district, so it moved into its new HQ facility late in 2022 . The Aircare offices were built to accommodate its specific needs in terms of Telemedical Communications support, as well as its expanding and unique medical kit assembly and medical supply business.
Today (Q2 2023) Aircare International trains over 3500 crewmembers a year, supplies medical equipment and support to thousands of Aircraft and Maritime entities (boats, ships, and processors), and provides temporary personnel support to over a hundred flight departments. The company’s training centers offer on-demand training on a daily basis with fully staffed instructor-bases well versed in both aviation Emergency Procedures Training as well as inflight medical training.
Based on the intimate knowledge of Aircare’s customer-base, and the unique needs that accompany its traditional offerings, Aircare International entered the pleasure craft market with a full-service medical kit offering in 2023.