Cutter Aviation

What It Is: Reportedly the oldest continually family-owned and -operated FBO and aircraft sales network in the U.S., with nine locations across the Southwest and California. 

How It Grew: Barnstorming pilot William P. Cutter started Cutter Flying Service in 1928 at Oxnard Field in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (That wasn’t long after the Air Commerce Act of 1926 coined the phrase “Fixed Base Operator” to describe a business serving general aviation at an airport.) Cutter provided air charter to ranches and towns across the Southwest throughout the 1930s and ran a pilot school for the U.S. Navy at Albuquerque’s West Mesa Airport during World War II. 

In 1947 Cutter moved its main operation to Kirtland Field at what is now known as the Albuquerque International Sunport. That year Cutter also started its 62-year affiliation with Beech Aircraft Corporation, first as a dealer, and then performing maintenance on Beechcraft and other general aviation aircraft.

Cutter’s sons, William R. (Bill) (born in 1932) and Sidney (born in 1934), both began flying at early ages, and each returned to the family business after stints in the U.S. military. Bill established the family’s second FBO at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport in 1959, while Sid remained in Albuquerque, serving as company president from 1963, when his father died, until 1974 when he turned his focus to hot-air ballooning. (He founded the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.)

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Taking over the reins in 1974, Bill expanded maintenance, aircraft sales, and air charter services at Phoenix and across the Southwest, adding facilities in El Paso, Texas, in 1982; Deer Valley (Phoenix) in 1997; San Antonio in 1998; and Santa Monica, California, in 2000. The company also opened an FBO at Sky Harbor in 1988.

Bill’s son, William Cutter, became president in September 2002 and further expanded operations into Colorado and Texas. 

What It Offers:

FBO services. Fuel and flight-support and ground services at airports in Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico.  

Aircraft maintenance. Factory-trained maintenance and avionics repairs at Cutter FBOs and in Denver, Dallas, and San Antonio.  

Aircraft sales. Sales of new and preowned HondaJet, Pilatus, and Piper aircraft at FBO and aircraft-maintenance locations plus offices in Carlsbad and Santa Ana, California.

Recent News: Cutter has launched shared-ownership programs on HondaJet and Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft.  

Fast Facts:

Founded: 1928

HQ: Phoenix

Employees: about 60

President and CEO: Will Cutter