While the operators of some FBOs may feel as if they live at the airport, Dan and Andi Montgomery of Indianapolis Executive Airport’s (TYQ) Montgomery Aviation actually do. Dan, who has been at the northern Indianapolis airport (formerly known as Terry Field) since 1989, is currently the airport manager. He and his wife, Andi, also own and operate the lone aviation services provider on the field. The couple also manages the FBOs at two other Indiana locations: Frankfurt Municipal Airport and Grissom Airbase, a joint-use military-civil facility.
Dan had served at the airport as its maintenance provider, and in 2000 the couple offered to take over management of the ramshackle FBO run by the private airport’s owner as well. They moved their family onto the field and began to offer service whenever it was required. When they took over, there were 40 aircraft based at the airport, half of them gliders and the remainder a mix of flyable and un-flyable piston-engine airplanes. That first year, the couple sold 50,000 gallons of fuel. In 2001 the FBO welcomed its first based business jet, owned by someone who is still with them and now owns a Learjet 45XR and a helicopter.
Opportunities for Growth
In 2003, when the original owner of the airport retired, Hamilton County purchased and renamed the field. That same year Montgomery completed its first 18,000-sq-ft corporate hangar and office building, which quickly filled to capacity. The new structure allowed the FBO to vacate the old terminal, referred to as “the shack.” The number of based aircraft continued to climb, and three years later the Montgomerys added an 8,000-sq-ft terminal and another 18,000-sq-ft hangar as part of a nearly $2 million upgrade. They also added an 18,000-sq-ft canopy.
Today the nontower airport, which sees some 60,000 operations a year, is home to approximately 100 aircraft, including 22 business jets, a GIII among them, and the Avfuel-branded location will pump more than 700,000 gallons of fuel this year, according to Andi Montgomery. The FBO occupies a footprint of eight acres and can accommodate aircraft the size of a Boeing BBJ. The location also offers a flight school and a Part 145 maintenance station that can handle engine changes and Phase I to IV inspections on Cessna Citations. The business is also half owner of charter provider SolutionsAir, which operates a Citation I as well as a pair of King Airs and a Pilatus PC-12.
The FBO’s fuel farm can store 24,000 gallons of jet-A dispensed from either a 5,000-gallon tanker or a renovated military truck that can hold 8,000 gallons. For avgas the location offers a self-fueling option or the services of a 4,000-gallon tanker.
The FBO is open generally from 5:30 a.m. until 9 p.m., but having its operators living on the airport provides benefits for customers. “We post those hours, but I tell people just tell me when you are coming and we’ll be there,” Andi Montgomery told AIN. Among the amenities offered are free Wi-Fi throughout the terminal, crew cars, WSI weather and a computer-equipped pilot lounge/snooze room with showers. The FBO also has two conference rooms that can seat 12 and eight people respectively, and onsite car rental.
The Montgomerys believe in community involvement and the need to show the best face of general aviation to the neighborhood. To that end, the company has provided its light- and sound-equipped canopy as the venue for many local events, including an annual Downs Syndrome Indiana fundraiser, aero club dinners and concerts. Once a year, a local church even celebrates Mass under the shelter, followed by a pot-luck picnic. Around Halloween, part of one of the FBO’s hangars hosts a safe “trick or treating” party for local children, who are treated to such fun and games as a candy drop and taxiway rides on the FBO’s World War II-vintage truck. Andi Montgomery sees exposing guests to aviation as a side benefit: “Those kids come in and play in half the hangar, but they are looking at the jets and the helicopter.”
During last year’s Super Bowl, the facility found itself swamped with more than 60 business jets and the Montgomerys were forced to turn away business, including one well known pilot/actor. When one potential customer was told beforehand that there was no more parking space for a large jet, the customer said he would fly his King Air to the game instead. The location scrambled for equipment such as chocks to accommodate the surge, and more than 100 volunteers turned out to help. Local restaurants were on hand greeting arriving guests with appetizers, as others steered them to the Super Bowl desk and then out to the 100 rental cars and 30 limousines at the terminal’s front entrance. On Super Bowl Sunday Indianapolis Executive was the second busiest airport behind Indianapolis International. That day Montgomery Aviation recorded 92 operations, including 30 jets that landed, unloaded their passengers and returned later to pick them up after the game. A bonus, according to Montgomery, was the evening temperature, which dipped just low enough for all those parked aircraft to require de-icing before departure.