In 1927, Oklahoma oilman Frank Phillips became enamored of aviation and put his money and his energy where his heart was. Now, 75 years later, Phillips 66 remains committed to aviation fuels and oils and is one of the most popular among refiners and distributors. Mark Wagner, Phillips 66 aviation manager, said, “We’ve been there through good times and bad, and we’ll continue to support our customers.”
In 1927 Phillips hired Billy Parker as one of the first corporate pilots to head one of the first corporate flight departments. Parker– holder of U.S. pilot license number 44, signed by Orville Wright–is credited with inventing the controllable-pitch propeller. That year, Phillips opened its own airport, Frank Phillips Field in Bartlesville, Okla.
In the 1930s Phillips sponsored pioneering aviator Wiley Post’s high-altitude flights, during which the famous one-eyed pilot discovered wind currents we know as the jet stream. He flew a Lockheed Vega known as the Winnie Mae, now on display at the National Air & Space Museum.
Phillips in 1961 introduced a combination anti-icing and anti-microbe jet-fuel additive. In the 1970s the company introduced 100 LL aviation gasoline, today’s standard for reciprocating engines, and its X/C multiviscosity aviation oil. Today, Phillips lays claim to servicing the largest network of branded FBOs, including the elite Aviation Performance Centers, dedicated to serving executive-level corporate aviation.