William (Bill) R. Cutter, patriarch of the Cutter Aviation family, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 86, according to the company, which recently celebrated its 90th anniversary. A lifelong aviation enthusiast, he learned to fly as a boy, on the lap of his father, company founder William P. Cutter, and eventually went on to earn ATP-ratings in fixed-wing, helicopter, and lighter-than-air aircraft. He logged thousands of flight hours during his lifetime, most recently in his 1944 Beech Staggerwing.
Cutter later took over the family FBO, MRO, and aircraft sales business and established its flagship facility at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Along with his son Will, he enlarged the company network to four FBO locations and several maintenance/avionics facilities throughout the Southwest.
He served in the U.S. Army, and during his business career, he was honored by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and the New Mexico Military Institute. Cutter further was inducted into the Pima Air and Space Museum’s Hall of Fame, and in 1994 was awarded the National Air Transportation Association's highest honor: the William A. "Bill" Ong Memborial Award. He is remembered for the time spent at the company’s facilities, engaging with every employee on a first name basis.
He is survived by his children Will and Kathryn, and four grandchildren. The company noted that memorial arrangements will be released at a later date.