United Flight Systems (“UFS”) opened its doors January 21, 1989 at Hooks Airport with 2 aircraft and 3 flight instructors. Bob Watts was practicing law at the time and was “persuaded” by three friends to purchase Merriworth Aviation (the old Mort Hall Aviation flight school).
UFS moved to its present location in early 1992, which at the time was the old Mort Hall Avionics shop. Its 15,000 square foot hanger and large tarmac was ideal for what was to become a large flight school. By 1993 UFS had become a fully operational FAA approved Part 141 flight school. By the end of 1994, UFS had 15 aircraft and 11 full-time flight instructors. By 1995, UFS began training military veterans under the GI Bill, which continues today.
In 1994 Bob, retired from the practice of law, bought out his remaining partners at UFS and actively began to run the school full-time. UFS went on an expansion spree, bought new aircraft and geared up for the future growth.
In June 1996, UFS opened its College Station facility at Easterwood Airport and expanded its fleet of aircraft to 23 (including one hot air balloon). By that time UFS was conducting over 15,000 operational flight hours per year. As a Cessna Pilot Center, UFS began participating in the SLM Financial loan program for flight training. To date, the flight school has participated in the grant of over $1,5000,000 in flight training loans for prospective pilots.
UFS is a family business. Laura came on board as the Business Manager and later became a full-fledged CFI and Chief Instructor. Now working for United as a First Office and SIM Instructor, Laura still enjoys visits to the flight school when she is in town. Jeanne, Bob’s wife, actively began working at the school in 1998, insuring that our pilot supplies are well stocked and well rounded. She has the motto “if we don’t have it, I can get it.”
In August 2003, Bob purchased UFS’s building and land (approximately 3 acres) and began an ambitious $120,000 modernization of the facility. New classrooms and offices were added and artwork portraying the development of the aircraft industry began to hang on the walls. In continuing to excel in flight training, UFS purchased its first “glass cockpit” G1000 Cessna Skyhawk in December 2005 and a second G1000 Skylane in 2008. In 2010 UFS employed one of the first-of-its-kind Redbird full motion AATD’s end in 2011 took delivery of one of Cessna’s newest trainer, the C162 Skycatcher.
Over 175 certified flight instructors have called UFS “home” since 1989. As of January 2018, UFS has been serving the greater Houston and five county surrounding area for 29 years!
It is interesting how history repeats itself. In May of 2018, Bobby Doss and Matt Shaunty stepped back from their careers and allowed their passion for aviation to become a larger part of their life, taking the reins at United Flight Systems and carrying on Bob’s legacy. All three men prove that a devotion to flight can easily be turned into more -a career and long-term avocation. The goal for us at UFS is always to create an environment where individuals feel that they are being provided with the resources that not only teach them to fly, but develop a love for aviation.
For those considering a career or flying or to just follow a passion, there are many advantages to choosing United Flight Systems. We were the first school at David Wayne Hooks Airport to invest in a full motion simulator. This allows students and licensed pilots to develop further training on the ground when weather conditions may not be ideal for flying. Jeannie’s Pilot Shop, a full pilot supply shop, allows for direct access to the materials an individual may need to start their journey as a pilot. Additionally, there are 12 planes in our active fleet and the future looks bright for refurbishing them to provide a higher quality experience through UFS. Another advantage of choosing UFS is the pull through parking for our planes, which many flight schools lack. It guarantees that students do not have to move planes by hand, a huge plus when beginner students lack a comfort level or familiarity with the planes. Our philosophy of “training to maximum proficiency, not minimum standards” will always ring true even through a change in ownership. Our facility, resources, well-maintained aircraft, and highly qualified instructors provide a remarkable experience in aviation. We welcome you to join us for a special flying and learning program you are sure to enjoy!