Tulsair Beechcraft: longevity at its core – celebrating 70 years

According to Forbes Magazine, 90% of all U.S. businesses are family-owned or controlled by a family. Tulsair Beechcraft, Inc. (Tulsair) is no different. For seven decades Tulsair has served its customers with the utmost safety, dedication, expertise and professionalism. The FBO has been branded Phillips 66® Aviation since 1947, and this year marks Tulsair's 70th year in business. Tulsair has been serving pilots' aviation needs since 1945, providing customers with a rich tradition in aircraft sales and service.

Tulsair holds the title of Phillip 66's second oldest branded FBO out of the 800-plus network. They're strategically located at Tulsa International Airport (KTUL) in Oklahoma and Millington Municipal Airport (NQA) in Tennessee. As with any long-term relationship, bonds have been forged that go far beyond a simple supplier/distributor connection.

"I truly cherish the relationship with Phillips 66 through their above-and-beyond service and quality fuel products," said Tom Clark, Tulsair's owner. "The organization's headquarters located in such close proximity in Bartlesville has allowed me to work with Phillips 66 closely throughout the years, something I have never taken for granted."

Since 1945, Tulsair has provided authentic Beechcraft parts to maintenance and repair facilities. All of Tulsair's maintenance technicians have earned an A&P or an I/A license and have been expertly trained by Flight Safety, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Beechcraft and Bombardier.

In addition to maintenance and repair work, the FBO also offers a complete line of aircraft support services which includes fuel and line service, heavy airframe and engine maintenance; advanced avionics installation and repair; executive terminal facilities; aircraft storage; jet and turboprop charter; aircraft sales; aircraft leasing and management; and Beechcraft parts sales on a worldwide basis.

Tulsair also participates in the WingPoints® Rewards Program, which allows customers to earn valuable points just for filling up their tanks.

From the Beginning

It all began in the late 1930s when Gail Clark was asked by the military to stay stateside and train fighter pilots for World War II. After being released in 1945, Clark worked for American pioneer aviator and founder of Beech Aircraft Company, Walter Beech. For two years he sold planes and then decided to invest in his own business and built Tulsair.

Following very closely in his father's footsteps, Tom Clark was assigned by the Air Force to stay in the United States and train pilots during the Vietnam War. For five years Clark shared his fine-tuned aviation skills with countless pilots. He learned to fly at the age of 16 and accumulated 2,500 flight hours before joining the Air Force.He then learned to fly supersonic aircraft and banked an additional 2,500 hours of flying giving him 5,000 hours of total flight time after leaving the service. While it was a lot of hard work, Clark was given some leeway as well.

"For relaxation I was allowed to take a T-38 anywhere I wanted during the weekends, which was something that I will always treasure since it allowed me to see the United States," said Clark.

After graduating with a business degree from the University of Oklahoma, and his service in the Air Force, Tom joined his father at Tulsair in a role that combined his passions – sales and aviation.

"Sales has everything to do with building relationships, earning trust and a complete inside-out knowledge of the product," said Clark. "Learning from my father, coupled with our diverse aviation experience, has allowed Tulsair to successfully navigate the ups and downs of the economy over the years by making big aviation sales deals."

In addition to Tulsair, Clark also owns the local, very popular White River Fish Market. On Wednesdays you'll find Clark there, enjoying a leisurely lunch. While the market has nothing to do with aviation, it is a place where customers can go, enjoy the fresh catch of the day and strike up a great conversation. Similarly, Tulsair's comfortable accommodations welcomes pilots who stop to refuel, rest, grab a hot cup of fresh-brewed coffee and enjoy the chitchat of fellow pilots and Tulsair's friendly employees.

Future Expansions

In approximately 20 years, Clark envisions his grandson taking over the business. He's confident that his successor will maintain and continue the success of Tulsair.

Emotionally connected to the industry, Clark said, "I feel tremendous pride knowing that I played a part in a successful business."

Here's to 70-plus more years, Tulsair.

To learn more about Tulsair, visit their website at www.tulsair.com.