In 1957, The Soviet Union launched the first space satellite Sputnik 1. It was the same year that Morrison-Knudsen Corporation launched out on its own adventure and 60 years later, the company that would be later known as Western Aircraft is still flying.
Western Aircraft began as the corporate flight department for the Morrison-Knudsen Corporation (MK), headquartered in Boise, Idaho. In 1957, MK responded to an overwhelming need for aircraft repair services by applying for and receiving its first FAA Certified Repair Station Certificate on March 29, 1957. During the 1980s, three more hangars were added and the company became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Morrison-Knudsen Corporation incorporated under the name of Western Aircraft, Inc.
In 1995, Al Hilde, Jr., and Allen Hoyt purchased the company from MK and over the next 12 years, the company became the world’s largest PC-12 dealer as well as a major Falcon and King Air Authorized Service Center, driving Western’s growth. In July 2007, the company was purchased by Greenwich AeroGroup and Western Aircraft’s advancement pattern continued to prosper due to the formation of various OEM relationships and the addition of capabilities. Since that time, the company has also made significant investments in people, training, tooling, technology and the facilities.
“I look at the humble beginnings of this company and where we are 60 years later and I’m so proud to be part of this organization,” said Western Aircraft’s Vice President and General Manager Austin Shontz. “This company owes its success to its dedicated ownership, its customers and the talented team of employees that have helped it to continue to move forward since 1957.”
The company will hold an official 60th-anniversary celebration later this year.