In the summer of 1982 Reece Howell launched a small company to fulfill a vision he had for managing corporate aircraft for businesses and individuals who wanted the benefits of owning an aircraft without the headaches. The name was Corporate Flight Management, Inc which was appropriate for the primary focus of the business.
I was with my father from day one. Shortly after we started David Augustin joined us as a partner and then a year later my brother Chuck joined us. For 36 years David, Chuck and I were owners of Corporate Flight Management, Inc. and each of us served in many positions in the company.
Over the years we added aviation services to the initial offering of aircraft management and aircraft charter. We started a maintenance repair and overhaul shop to maintain our own managed fleet and serve other aircraft owners outside of our own aircraft. The initial expertise was in maintaining Mitsu bishi MU-2 aircraft since that was the aircraft Reece started the company with.
In the late 80’s we entered the Fixed Based Operations (FBO) business, first in Smyrna and then in 1990 at the John C Tune Nashville Airport. Over the past 37 years we started and operated FBO’s at three other locations.
In 1996 we started a FAR 121 scheduled airline under the brand name “Corporate Express Airlines” which eventually branched off and became “RegionsAir”.
Chuck went with RegionsAir for a time and then left to work for Great Lakes Airlines in Cheyenne WY as the COO and eventually CEO. He commuted to Wyoming for 15 years before coming back to live full time in Tennessee. During his ventures out west he remained an owner of CFM and served on the Board for many years.
In 1998 we started a flight school in Smyrna called “Wings of Eagles” which exists today and is one of the largest flight schools in Tennessee.
Chuck and I grew up at the airport in Fayetteville TN spending time on weekends and summer break hanging out. I don’t remember the first time I was at the airport and flew in a small aircraft. Our father took us up on flights when we were old enough to walk.
David grew up in Loretto TN and worked for a farm operation when he was in high school, driving and rebuilding tractors. His boss, Jerry Brown had a J5 Cub and then a M4 Maule. David’s first solo flight was in the J5 flying out of a pasture on the farm. David eventually formalized his pilot training and got his private license at the Lawrenceburg Airport under the tutelage of Joe Fleeman. David was a spotter in the fields during “crop duster” operations and would sometimes sneak a ride in the crop duster on the way to the fields.
Between the three of us we have done a lot of different things in aviation over the past 36 years. We have succeeded in some ventures, failed in others, and learned a lot from our mistakes. Along the way we have had the privilege of working with thousands of people; many who got their start in aviation with the businesses we owned. We have also had the privilege of serving many pilots and aircraft owners at our locations who have come from all corners of the world. It has been an amazing journey.
August 31, 2019 marked the beginning of a new journey for us. As part of a logical restructuring of businesses that fall under the CFM/ Contour Aviation name, the three of us purchased from the other shareholders of CFM the FBO’s at Smyrna and Cleveland TN operating under the brand name Contour Flight Support. Part of the transaction was the sale of our stock in Corporate Flight Management, Inc back to the company.
Through it all we have never lost the passion for aviation, and especially serving the community of pilots, airplane owners and businesses at general aviation airports.
I believe we have developed a unique set of skills and experience combined with wisdom that can only be gained from the humility to learn from our past mistakes.
Over the next few months we will work on rebranding our FBO business to Azure Flight Support, a name we created this summer when we started our operations in Crossville TN. The word Azure represents a color of blue that is often described as the deep blue color of the sky that you see above the haze layer on a clear day. I believe that describes our attitude about this point in our career. We are looking up at the heavens and grateful to GOD to be where we are. We are glad to have the opportunity to continue serving in the general aviation industry. The deep sky blue of Azure is one of my favorite colors. One definition I found in searching out the color said it evokes nature, stability, calmness, and richness, among other aspects of blue symbolism. That is a good color representation for our company.
We will be managing FBO’s at Smyrna TN, Cleveland TN and Crossville TN. We will be in the flight training business and maintenance business at two of the locations. We will be looking for opportunities to operate at other airports where we can bring value to the communities that own and use the airport. In a way it is back to the basics of general aviation.
After 36 years it looks like we have come full circle and we have never been more excited about this business and the future than we are now.
We look forward to serving you at one of our locations.