It is with heavy hearts that Phillips 66® Aviation recognizes and honors the following aviation visionaries that have recently passed away. We express our deepest sympathy to the friends, family and colleagues of these extraordinary gentlemen.
William "Bill" R. Cutter, Cutter Aviation
William "Bill" R. Cutter passed away peacefully Dec. 11, 2018. A lifelong aviation enthusiast, Bill learned to fly sitting on his father's lap and became an ATP-rated pilot in fixed-wing, helicopter and lighter-than-air aircraft, along with achieving several jet and turbo-prop type ratings.
Continuing the family legacy started by his father in 1928, Bill established Cutter Aviation's facility at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in Arizona, which went on to become the company's largest facility and corporate headquarters. Bill, along with his son, grew the Cutter Aviation network by opening numerous locations throughout the Southwest.
In a statement released by the Cutter family, Bill was described as having "a larger than life personality and was quick to share anecdotes with those around him. He was a gentleman's gentleman; humbleness surrounded his daily actions. He leaves us with a keen sense of loss and heartfelt gratitude - we are better people for having known him."
Bill was a veteran of the United States Army and was honored with numerous accolades, most notably at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the New Mexico Military Institute, the Pima Air & Space Museum Hall of Fame, and was named "Man of the Year" by Beechcraft.
Conrad Yelvington, Yelvington Jet Aviation
On Dec. 13, 2018, Yelvington Jet Aviation's founder and CEO, Conrad Yelvington, passed away only a few weeks shy of his 92nd birthday. The longtime Daytona Beach entrepreneur and aviation enthusiast started Yelvington Jet Aviation in 1990 as a mobile aircraft refueling service for the airports of the greater Daytona Beach area. The FBO opened its doors in 1998 as the first executive aircraft terminal.
Conrad was an incredible force in the aviation industry and oversaw Yelvington Jet Aviation until his death.
"He was a self-made man and natural-born entrepreneur," said his son, Gary Yelvington. "His determination and resolute spirit will unquestionably live on as the foundation of our family and Yelvington Jet Aviation."
A celebration of life event was held at the headquarters for Yelvington Jet Aviation on Sunday, Jan. 6. The event included a fly-over by a restored P-51 Mustang fighter plane from World War II that is part of Yelvington’s personal collection of vintage military planes and vehicles.
Yelvington Jet Aviation is a member of the Perry Brothers' network of FBOs. Perry Brothers Aviation Fuels is a Phillips 66® Aviation marketer.
Robert "Bob" J. Wright, Business Jet Center
Bob Wright, 91, passed away Jan. 17, 2019 at Medical City Dallas, the hospital he created 45 years ago. A veteran of the United States Navy, he began his career in healthcare in the 1940s and was ultimately credited as the pioneer of the "Medical Mall" concept that has forever changed the face of healthcare. He was an extraordinary entrepreneur and spearheaded many ventures across multiple industries – including aviation.
Bob founded Business Jet Center at Dallas Love Field in 1993, once he saw the need for more efficient services related to private air travel. The operation continues to be owned and operated by the Wright family, which has a deep passion for aviation and values safety, integrity, service and trust – four pillars at the core of their business.
Bob had the rare ability to discover a "societal need" and develop solutions. It has been said that "he was a man who never settled for life as it was when he knew it could be so much more."