Bio on Splash-in Pilot Dave Hensch

Dave Hensch


               Born in 1979 Philippines on a US Naval Base, my father was a Navy pilot and I was exposed to aircraft throughout my childhood.  We moved to Florida when I was a baby and we eventually ended up in Orlando.  My father retired from the Navy after 22 years,  then worked for Pan Am.  Later, when I was 8 years old, my father bought a Cessna turbo 185 that we kept at our house.  I spent a lot of time around water as a kid, boating, skiing, knee boarding, wakeboarding, SCUBA diving, etc, and have done so as an adult too.  My father started Florida Seaplanes and at one point had four commerical seaplane bases offering rides, charter, and seaplane training.  I first started logging hours in 1999, learning how to fly airplanes in a straight float seaplane, getting my sea rating before my land rating.  Working and traveling, I didn't finish my private license until 2002.  My father was my first flight instructor.  He taught me in his 4 different Maule M77-235 straight float seaplanes.

                After high school I worked as a commercial diver, hard hat (surface supplied hose diving).  I learned how to work underwater in Seattle at a dive school where I learned how to weld and cut metal underwater, as well as other machinery, dive physics, and dive medicine.  After a few years working as a commercial diver, I eventually had enough near death experiences to consider going to college.  I went to Embry-Riddle, where I first acquired my A&P license and then continued a Bachelors degree structured towards aircraft maintenance and flight with a minor in air traffic control. 

                I worked at Embry Riddle as an aircraft mechanic for a few years and then got hired by the FAA as an air traffic controller.  ATC was a job I was interested in only for the salary, and after a few years of sitting in a dark room at Miami Center, I was soon unhappy and decided to get a job as a Flight Service Specialist at the Tamiami airport where I worked for Lockheed Martin for about 7 years until finally returning to the Orlando area to work full time as a seaplane pilot and instructor.

                 I like adventure and seaplanes offer some of the best opportunity to explore.  Combining water and flying is right up my alley.  I am most comfortable in the M7 Maule as I have about 2500 hours in them, so I guess you could say that's my favorite seaplane, however, I have flown a Beaver with my dad, and it's a cool plane.  I have somewhere between 2500-3000 hours in aircraft, mostly seaplane time.  I manage 3 seaplanes we keep at our houses on Prairie Lake, 3FD9, private seaplane base.  Farthest trip in a seaplane was with my father in a M7 Maule amphib from Orlando, FL to Anchorage, AK.  Took us 3 days of flying, mostly low flying.  The only bad part of that trip was driving a car back in 5 days!  We were like zombies by the time we got back.  

            I am married to a beautiful wife and have 2 kids.  Family is my main focus, followed by seaplanes and work.  Family enjoys flying too. 

When asked, "Tell us at least one pilot saying or aviation joke."

                I tell my students often that I am always learning and that "I will be the first to say that I know I still need to learn more".