“I knew what I was looking for, and I knew what I was getting.” – John Hammill, on how Tamarack Active Winglets first captured his attention.
Meet John Hammill, long-time aviator, business traveler, and true friend to the Tamarack team. We reconnected with Hammill in celebration of our Tenth Anniversary, which holds a special place in his heart; he was our first Active Winglet customer. His was the very first Citation 525 to undergo our revolutionary active winglet modification and was even used in some final testing and certification efforts. In addition, his was the first ever CJ to fly with certified active winglets back in 2015 and he loves them to this day, sharing that “they’ve just cut so much time to getting to altitude, typically flying at FL390 to FL410.”
Ten years of Tamarack calls for a celebration of the aviators who believed in our technology from the start, like John Hammill.
Hammill’s affinity for airplanes started at an early age, but it was not until his college years that he began to build a relationship with flying. After joining the Ohio Air National Guard in 1966, he spent thirteen months in USAF pilot training at Webb AFB in Big Spring, TX, plus an additional six months qualifying as a tactical fighter pilot. This opportunity landed him an air-to-ground mission role, flying in what would become his favorite aircraft, the North American F-100 Super Sabre. Hammill spent his time stationed primarily in the USA, with a brief stint in Turkey in the early 1970s.
These experiences shaped the reality of Hammill’s future business practices and prefaced his first look into private aircraft ownership. He purchased his first aircraft, a Beech Baron, by 1971. This was just the beginning of an extensive ownership portfolio that continues today; Hammill has owned three Beech Barons, a Turbo Commander 690B, a Cessna 501SP, and the Tamarack-modified Citation 525 CJ1. The Citation CJ1 serves as his primary form of business travel, enhanced by what he describes as “multiple advantages” of Tamarack active winglets.
Ease and comfort are a huge factor for frequent flyers and serious aviators like Hammill, who has used his aircraft as a tool for business travel throughout his career. With the exception of military time, he has been with his family owned-and-operated company since 1963, where he managed and directed the engineering department. Founded by Hammill’s father in 1955, Hammill Medical started as a tool-and-die company before branching into several silos of special machinery manufacturing. Among these silos were tooling for beer and beverage can manufacturing, tooling and assembly for sparkplug manufacturing, OEM supply for automotive parts, custom packaging equipment, and much more. Hammill Medical is best known for their success designing and manufacturing orthopedic implants such as artificial hips, knees, and spinal implants for many major orthopedic companies in the US.
Hammill is currently CEO of the company and spends most of his time visiting customers and doctors. He sees his fleet as a tool, admitting that flying for leisure is simply not on his radar. His busy schedule allows him to get the most out of his aircraft, enjoying the benefits of active winglets on typical trips of 700-1,000 miles. His explanation is simple: aircraft require a lot of attention, which is made possible for him by flying primarily for business. “If the airplane isn’t being flown, it’s just not good for the airplane or the pilot,” explains Hammill, “Not only do you maintain your currency and feel more comfortable, but I have found that an airplane has less maintenance problems when flown often.”
Hammill certainly practices what he preaches; he has racked up over 3,000 hours in his current Citation CJ1, 5,000 hours in CitationJets, and over 10,000 hours total. Approximately 1,000 of these hours have been completed with active winglets installed, providing him with unbelievable ride comfort. This is extremely advantageous for a pilot like Hammill, who flies all over the map; his missions typically range in the 800-900 mile range and take place in Texas and Florida. He also ventures out to California and North Idaho several times per year. For those 1,600 mile trips, Hammill loves having the reduced climb time and extra fuel for potential diversions. He describes his active winglets as a very worthwhile investment.
Working with aviators like John Hammill has been a crucial building block to the vision of Tamarack in the past ten years – we are proud to have over 100 aircraft in the Tamarack fleet, and even more proud that John Hammill was the first. A great amount of our critical engineering research, testing and development was made possible by the CitationJet that started it all. We look ahead to the years of continued improvement and possibility, moving into the future with our remarkable Tamarack family.