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, in Seattle, WA. AeroFlight started as a small aircraft refueling operation which was purchased as AeroWest’s Boeing Field location. After acquisition the name was changed to AeroFlight. It was in a 100 square foot hanger side office with a dirt floor built in 1947 and was located on the North end of Boeing Field. Soon after the company was founded, the owners 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 their old dirt floor hangar office. Over the course of the next year, AeroFlight acquired eight additional aircraft for the flight training fleet as well as Mrs. Sartnurak and Mr. Eustice as additional Flight Instructors.
In August of 1989, AeroFlight was approached by Mr. 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 one of the nicest FBO’s (Fixed Base Operations) on the West Coast at the time.
In December of 1989 AeroFlight moved into their 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.
This acquisition had made AeroFlight the undisputed leader of Aviation Flight Services in the Pacific Northwest at that time. Combined between the three businesses they had over 56 aircraft and over 70 excellent employees whom achieved an average of 25,000 hours of flight operations per year.
In October of 1992, they decided to sell AeroWest Aviation's Troutdale Location, which 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 October of 1995 AeroFlight purchased the building they had been leasing where they are now located, in order to further enhance their security on Boeing Field. The future was bright and they 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. They completed the purchase of the building immediately North of their building in April of 1999.
THEN SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 HAPPENED: This was a disaster to the aviation industry, AeroFlight's 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 AeroFlight back to profitability and viability.
"In 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." - Michael Hill, President
AeroFlight continues today as a company that provides a safe yet exciting place to work and excellent service to our customers.