GREAT FALLS, Mont. – This year, Holman Aviation is celebrating its diamond anniversary — its 65th year in business. That’s no small feat for the FBO, which is practically as old as its airport, Great Falls International Airport (GTF).
Dwight Holman has served as president of Holman Aviation since 1992. He succeeded his father, Homer Holman, who founded the FBO in 1950.
“You know the story of a grocery store CEO who starts out as a bagger? Well that’s kind of my story,” said Holman. “I’ve been around this FBO for pretty much my entire life. When I first started working I was the janitor, cleaning up at the maintenance shop and making sure our restrooms were tidy. As I got older, I was out on the flight line pumping fuel.”
While Holman is no longer manning the fuel pump, he says he still gets his hands dirty while managing the operations of the facility. The Phillips 66-branded FBO serves commercial, corporate, private and military aviation, primarily focusing on flight line operations. Fueling, aircraft maintenance and deicing (especially during this time of year) keep the staff of 24 busy around the clock.
Great Falls International Airport is a U.S. Customs International Port of Entry, meaning that aircraft traveling from countries other than Canada can enter the U.S. through Great Falls. With a main runway measuring more than 10,500 feet, the FBO can handle large aircraft landings and service flights originating from Europe, or diverted flights from Calgary and the west coast, that land at Holman Aviation to fill up their tanks, and continue on to their final destination in an efficient manner. In fact, quick turns are Holman Aviation’s specialty, according to Holman.
In addition to handling international travelers, the FBO services the needs of Malmstrom Air Force Base, one of just a few U.S. nuclear missile bases that remain. The base closed its runway in 1996.
“It’s rewarding to support the air force base whether we’re greeting top-brass VIP generals, Pentagon employees, or carrier flights,” said Holman.
The FBO also services a wide range of aircraft from the F-22 Raptor, a single-seat, twin-engine, all weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft developed specifically for the U.S. Air Force, to aircraft that transports the munitions, or ammunition, for Malmstrom.