THE HISTORY OF AEROFLIGHT
Originally named Aero West, it was founded as a small business by Michael and Tara Hill in March 1984 on Boeing Field, Seattle, WA. AeroFlight started as a small aircraft refueling operation which was purchased as AeroWest’s Boeing Field location from Mr. Dick Aukema. After acquisition the name was changed to AeroFlight. It was in 100 square foot hanger side office with a dirt floor built in 1947 and was located on the North end of Boeing Field under what is now know as the Taj Majal Building. Soon after the company was founded, Michael and Tara decided to expand into the Flight Training market. This was early 1985 and the training department consisted of one Cessna 152 and Michael as the sole flight instructor.
In December of 1985, AeroFlight moved into an 1100 square foot chalet type building located just immediately North of our old dirt floor hangar office. This building is currently under what is now known as the Elite Aviation building. Over the course of the next year, AeroFlight acquired eight additional aircraft for the flight training fleet as well as Mrs. Linda Sartnurak and Mr. Bob Eustice as additional Flight Instructors. AeroFlight remained in this building for the next four years while the company matured and solidified its position in the market place.
In August of 1989, AeroFlight was approached by Mr. Richard Aukema then President of Aero West, Inc. in Troutdale, Oregon about the possibility of purchasing the remainder of his company. With the purchase of Aero West, Inc’s. assets, AeroFlight acquired eleven aircraft, a small fuel business, a large maintenance facility, and 20 exceptional employees, making AeroFlight the largest Flight Training Academy on the West Coast North of San Francisco. AeroFlight then negotiated a new lease with the Port of Portland for a building on the North side of Troutdale Airport. In October of 1989 the remodeling of this facility was completed. It gave AeroFlight what we believe to be one of the nicest FBO’s (Fixed Base Operations) on the West Coast.
AeroFlight was incorporated in 1989 under the name AeroFlight Executive Services, Inc. for its Flight Training and Line Service business in Seattle, Washington, and incorporated under AeroFlight Academy of Aviation, Inc., in 1989 for the purchased assets from Aero West, Inc. in Troutdale, Oregon.
In December of 1989 AeroFlight moved into our current location on the South end of Boeing Field. Besides being a beautiful building and one of the largest, (15000 square feet) it was ideally suited for the expansion plans of AeroFlight. From this time forward AeroFlight acquired twelve additional aircraft and ten additional instructors.
On May 1st. 1992 AeroFlight completed the purchase and acquisition of Richardson Aviation, Inc.’s assets. Richardson Aviation, Inc. had been in the air cargo business for over twenty years and had established itself as one of the leading air cargo operator’s on Boeing Field and throughout Washington State.
This acquisition had made AeroFlight the undisputed leader of Aviation Flight Services in the Pacific Northwest at that time. Combined between the three businesses we had over 56 aircraft and over 70 excellent employees, who helped us, achieve an average of 25,000 hours of flight operations per year.
On the 5th. Of October, 1992, Tara and Michael Hill had a beautiful baby boy. Michael Brandon Hill brought a joy to their lives unequalled by anything they had ever experienced before. Something in the way of the expanding business had to go in order to raise their family in the manner they desired. Consequently, they determined that AeroFlight Academy of Aviation, Inc., located in Troutdale, Oregon was the most time consuming business to operate, therefore they decided to sell the assets of that business and concentrate on AeroFlight Executive Services Inc., located in Seattle, the most profitable and pleasurable operation.
This sale had an added benefit for AeroFlight. The buyer of Troutdale location only purchased 16 of the aircraft, leaving 9 aircraft to add to AeroFlight’s already large fleet, this made AeroFlight unquestionably the largest single location flight school in the Northwest with over 42 aircraft at that time. The sale enabled Michael Hill to concentrate his efforts on building AeroFlight into one of the largest Cargo and Line Service Operations located in the Pacific Northwest and devote time to his new cherished family. In 1993 AeroFlight Executive Services, Inc. was reformulated to include all Line Service Activities and AeroFlight Academy of Aviation, Inc. was formulated to hold all Cargo Operations, Flight Training Operations and Charter Operations in the Seattle Location.
In October of 1995 AeroFlight purchased the building we had been leasing where we are now located in to further enhance our security on Boeing Field. In February of 1996 Michael and Tara added a beautiful daughter by the name of Mariah Jane Hill to their family. This completed their dream family. They concentrated on raising them as well a maturing the company towards the future. The future was bright and we were developing into the undisputed leader in many areas of the aviation industry.
Looking forward additional space was needed for the future operations of AeroFlight. We completed the purchase of the building immediately North of our building in April of 1999.
THEN SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 HAPPENED: This was a disaster to the aviation industry, our Part 91 aircraft were grounded for 38 days, all 13 letter of intent customers went bankrupt and AeroFlight’s once very profitable charter business came to a screeching halt. Due to devastating financial losses created by a changed industry AeroFlight got out of the aircraft rental/instruction business and the aircraft charter business altogether. This left the cargo and fuel business to concentrate on, to get us back to profitability and viability. Our sales for our fuel department grew 402% between the years 2001 to 2007, and our sales in air cargo grew 417% between the years of 2001 to 2007.
In our daily operations safety is considered of prime importance at AeroFlight! It is the keystone of a successful business. The field of aviation must place major emphasis upon safe operations because many potential hazards exist, requiring constant surveillance. No activity is to be undertaken, and no personnel or equipment is to be utilized in any effort unless the activity can be carried through to a safe conclusion 100 percent of the time.
AeroFlight continues today as a company that provides a safe yet exciting place to work and excellent service to our customers.