REDMOND, Ore. – Butler Aircraft Services is a Phillips 66 Aviation branded FBO that offers all of the typical amenities like full and self-serve fuel, charters, courtesy cars, rental cars, coordination of hotel accommodations, award-winning catering and plenty of fresh coffee and cold water to keep pilots alert and hydrated. But one additional service they offer, that many FBOs do not, is multi-engine, aerial firefighting.
Owned since 2006 by Travis and Nan Garnick, Butler has held contracts with the Oregon Department of Forestry and the USDA Forest Services since 1957. Their involvement in aerial firefighting can be attributed back to the founder, Calvin J. Butler.
Butler was a fighter pilot in World War II. After being shot down over Germany he spent 18 months in a prisoner of war camp. When he was finally released, he started Butler Farm Air in 1946, later expanded to aerial firefighting in 1957. In Fact, Butler is credited with introducing the B-17 into successful aerial firefighting.
Travis got involved because Butler wanted to turbinize the air tanker fleet, and C-130 Hercules were introduced into the firefighting fleet. These aircraft help to protect the 16 million acres of forestland protected by the USFS and Oregon Department of Forestry.
According to Kurt Newton, general manager, the FBO has already started to ramp up their fuel supplies. During the summer it’s typical to use 15-18 thousand gallons with seven trucks on the line. However, with a warm winter and light snowfalls in the mountains, it could mean that wildfire season will begin early this year in Central Oregon. The typical wildfire season begins in June and runs through October. However, Butler Aircraft Services is already training with the forest service in preparation for whatever is in store.
The Garnicks are proud of the support contributed by their company and its legacy heritage of red- carpet service for their customers. Redmond, Ore., is known as “The Hub” of Central Oregon. It’s a mecca for business travelers and corporate jets. Whether it’s wildfire season or not, the NATA Safety 1st-trained staff are ready to assist all travelers with their aircraft needs.
For more information please visit www.butlerairservices.com.