Passing of Helmut "Hal" Heindel another Printing Industry Great and Guru of Print Estimating/MIS


Well-known member
It is with great sorrow that I inform this forum that I learned over the weekend that Helmut "Hal" Heindel passed away back on December 4th. To my knowledge Hal's experience in the printing industry dates back to 1969 with Unitac a stationary printing shop in Rochester NY. By 1976 his company Unitac had published a 40 page priding guide for his stationary business which was an instant hit with his customers. In 1978 he purchased a Northstar kit computer which he assembled after business hours and learned how to program it over 2 years and wrote the first ever computer estimating program for the Unitac print shop. In 1980 he mailed out to his customers the first computer generated price book on the planet. In 2005 he shifted from printing to computer estimating releasing the Free Edition of his popular Morning Flight estimating system which quickly grew to over 2000 installations worldwide and was followed up with his paid versions - Passport, Express, Silver, Gold & PixelBlitz editions. He also developed a SkyPricer for use with Web to Print.

After testing his free version we quickly became friends after talking about his system and the system I had designed and used myself but never published that was based on a MS Access database geared towards a cost based approach to print prices. He generously offered me his premium package for free if I would agree to evaluate it and provide feedback as a beta tester despite my offer to purchase it. He was friends from what I understand with John Stewart, who also passed early last year, and he offered me a lot of insight into pricing methodology. He also had a great love for sports cars and told me the story of his purchase of a used Shelby Cobra drag race car in 1967 for $3600 which would sell for $1,433,500.00 in the 2006 Mecum Spring Classic auction in Belvidere IL. From our conversations my understanding was that it was a very rare car. He sent me a copy of the book he wrote about that titled "Good to be Home, America". I highly recommend you getting a copy if you like to read.

His website is still up but it appears the store is down for maintenance so I don't know if his products will continue to be available. I had emailed him a few times over the last month or so and left him a few voicemails but was unaware of his death, but I was beginning to worry after not hearing back from him but thought he was at his winter house in Florida. Ultimately I found his obituary this weekend after discovering his store was down for maintenance.

I am sad that another great one from our industry has left us, and at my age of 52 it seems like I am hearing of a friend or loved ones passing all to frequently nowadays.

If anyone here knew him or used his software at any time past or present I'd like to hear your story related to it.

John Martin
I have used his software for years. And helped him a little bit when he was working on the wide format addition. We had some nice chats and he had some interest in model railroading which I am heavily into.

So sad to hear of his passing.
So sad to hear, we were one of his first beta testers of Morning Flight and he always said we had it free for life. Unfortunately we outgrew it and had to switch after many years. Hal and I had many conversations which almost always veered away from printing. He will be missed, that's for sure!
  • Like
Reactions: DYP


A 30-day Fix for Managed Chaos

As any print professional knows, printing can be managed chaos. Software that solves multiple problems and provides measurable and monetizable value has a direct impact on the bottom-line.

“We reduced order entry costs by about 40%.” Significant savings in a shop that turns about 500 jobs a month.

Learn how…….