Recent developments across our industry highlight the importance of selecting private aviation solutions based on a long history of service, safety and trust. These are the tenets on which Priester Aviation has built its proud heritage.
For eight decades, Priester Aviation has earned our reputation in private aviation, delivering personalized service 24/7 in aircraft management and charter services. In fact, our company’s heritage dates back even further to 1908 – less than five years after the Wright Brothers’ historic flight at Kitty Hawk – with the birth of my grandfather, George Priester.
Although George began his career as a locomotive fireman for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroads, he soon recognized that air travel was truly the wave of the future – and that, in his words, “flying is a business tool.”
This led him to establish Priester Aviation as a flight training school in 1945. Just eight years later, he purchased Palwaukee Airport – now known as Chicago Executive Airport (PWK) – and expanded into all facets of business aviation, including fixed base operations (FBOs) and maintenance, but focusing our current core services of aircraft management and charter.
Building a Storied Team for a Bright Future
While our company has grown over three generations of family ownership and leadership to support clients across the country and around the globe, we understand that we must continue to honor my grandfather’s legacy every day, through actions and, above all, our service to our customers.
All of us at Priester Aviation recognize the importance of maintaining these beliefs as we continue to build and grow our company, along with the need to manage such growth responsibly. A shared commitment to these tenets drove our decision to bring Mayo Aviation and Hill Private Aviation into the Priester Aviation family.
Mayo Aviation in the Rocky Mountain West
Mayo’s roots begin in the early 1960s when founders Gwen and Bill Mayo II moved to Colorado from Minnesota. There, the couple built a business with automobile filling stations.
At the same time, Bill became passionate about aviation, virtually teaching himself to fly in a Ryan Navion converted military aircraft. As the Mayos expanded their aircraft to a small fleet, they started leasing two King Air 90s to a Denver-based regional airline.
In 1978, after selling the filling stations, the Mayos took to aviation as a business full-time, founding Mayo Aviation and starting charter service. A year later, Mayo began its four-decade relationship with Flight for Life Colorado, eventually becoming the exclusive fixed-wing provider for the life-saving organization.
Mayo expanded to serve the Rocky Mountain West and throughout the South and Central U.S., at one point having been recognized by Beechcraft as operating the largest Part 135 fleet of King Airs in the world. The company added aircraft management and maintenance, managing and operating large and small jets, including nearly every type of Learjet produced.
Service has been in the DNA of Mayo since its founding and continued under the reins of Bill Mayo III for the past decade. The company – using the mantra “first, do the right thing,” has committed to supporting aircraft owners throughout its history, looking for ways to assist them in achieving their aviation and business success.
Hill Serves Atlanta Aviators
Hill Private Aviation began with Guy Hill Sr. coming home from World War II. A decorated Navy pilot, Hill still had the aviation bug back home in Atlanta, first flying people in rides over the city and creating a hangar storage and maintenance business at Fulton County Airport in 1955.
The company expanded over the years as general and business aviation grew, providing flight training, hangar storage, maintenance, an interior shop, as well as a fixed-base operation.
Hill began providing charter service to clients in 1967. Just like all of its enterprises, the family-led company perfected the Sensational Southern Service for which it would become famous.
Hill continued building relationships and serving customers – as managed aircraft became a focus, as well as building its Repair Station. For more than 65 years, a Hill customer has been assured that if a problem arose, Guy Hill Sr. and then Guy Hill Jr. was just a phone call away to make it right.
The company has supported pilots and business leaders, travelers and aviators. It’s been a community fixture and resource, always providing excellent customer service and answering their needs. Visitors to Hill are struck by the history and legacy of its operations, while enjoying their next interaction with the team.
Here Today and Here Tomorrow
Priester, Mayo and Hill’s focus will always be on our customers, not shareholders. We’re proud to be able to offer them international resources and large-scale capabilities while retaining the ability to personally serve them. We haven’t lost track of what drove my grandfather and the Mayo and Hill families before us: the desire to be a better partner to our clients.
We have built our proud and storied legacy the hard way – the way it should be done – through a commitment to our clients, our service and our heritage. The more things change in the industry, the more we think it’s important that we continue to honor the fundamental operating beliefs of which our company was built on. That commitment and authenticity will lead us into the future, even as other companies may come into and leave our industry.
– Andy Priester, Chairman & CEO