Our Islands, Our Future

Maui resident and licensed commercial pilot Tessa Coulter is a visionary behind AI (artificial intelligence) aviation software as well as her new nonprofit: The Little Yellow Airplane Project. Coulter also volunteers her time and her own plane to fly rescue animals, farm produce, school supplies and other necessities to those in need. 

Immediately in the aftermath of the Maui wildfires, Coulter loaded up her small plane to fly into Kapalua with food and essentials for fire victims. “It’s a blessing to be able to help other people,” she said. “The fires showed how important aviation is here in Hawaii. We were able to assist those who required immediate aid, even before any of the government agencies got there. It was amazing to see the whole Hawaii private aviation community mobilize.”

Coulter, who studied mechanical engineering in college, took her first flight in 2019 and fell in love with flying. Shortly after, she signed up for flight lessons and bought her first plane. She is currently developing AI software for an online 30-hour ground school course for private pilots, plus programs for students.

One of Coulter’s co-pilots, Bianca Vasquez, another Maui-based female pilot, got her start in aviation through the Maui Civil Air Patrol student program. “Bianca earned her private pilot certificate at the age of 17 and recently started the nonprofit Women of Color in Aviation,” Coulter noted. “We both want to share the importance of aviation careers, from air traffic controllers to aerospace engineers, dispatchers, aircraft maintenance technicians—the demand is massive.” 

Recently, Coulter gave a presentation to Maui Economic Development Board’s STEMworks AFTERschool students at Iao School. “My mission is to introduce and inspire our youth about the world of aviation,” Coulter said. “I want to debunk the myth that aviation is inaccessible. Through STEM programs and scholarships, our Little Yellow Plane Project hopes to open doors for young aviators to foster their passion and reach their aspirations. I want our youth to know if they really want to fly a plane, or have a career in aviation, it’s available to them. There are vast opportunities awaiting young people. The sky’s the limit!”

Using my Cessna 150 for humanitarian flights is a blessing. Giving back is what it’s all about. For more info call (808) 264-6934 or email Tessa Coulter, Maui Pilot