Florida Aviation Business Association
Serving the General Aviation and Business Aviation Community Since 1946
Friday, 19 October 2012 14:58

Flightline Retrospective

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Do you remember the year 1982? America tuned in every Friday night to see what J.R. Ewing was up to on Dallas, and Olivia Newton-John's Physical topped the music charts. A gallon of gas cost just $1.30, and a first-class postage stamp set you back twenty cents. Ronald Reagan was in the White House, and E.T. was phoning home. 1982 was also the year that Paul “Mac” Langston and his wife, Carmen, founded Flightline Group in Tallahassee.

Flightline, originally known as Coastal Aviation Services, was created to provide and promote professional aviation services. The Company’s first contract commenced in August 1982, when Flightline and Tallahassee Memorial Hospital (TMH) jointly developed Life Flight, the area's first hospital-based aeromedical helicopter program. The program, one of the first fifty established in the United States, was very successful and became the seventh-busiest program in the country just two years after it was started.

In the next year, Flightline and TMH implemented a fixedwing aeromedical program, utilizing a Piper Navajo to trans- Flightline Retrospective port patients over longer distances. The program, known as Life Flight Long Distance, provided inter-hospital patient transports throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The program was expanded in 1985 to include a Learjet and a Piper Cheyenne, enabling transports over greater distances at faster speeds. The Learjet became an integral component of TMH’s organ procurement and heart transplant program. As the aeromedical industry expanded so did Flightline, as evidenced by the competitive award of Stat Flight in 1985, a second aeromedical operation based at Alachua General Hospital in Gainesville. With the addition of Stat Flight, Flightline became the first Florida aviation company with multiple aeromedical operations. In 1986, the program received national recognition for their outstanding contribution and achievements in the aeromedical industry, including the Aeromedical Safety Award in recognition of completing over 6,000 consecutive accident-free missions.

Flightline TechFlightline’s aeromedical programs gave the Company a base to develop and expand other services, many of which had never been offered in Tallahassee, such as the area's first turbine helicopter and its first jet charter. Operating a fleet of up to twelve aircraft, Flightline became one of the area’s largest aircraft operators and a leader in Florida's aviation arena. Flightline’s air taxi/charter service also began in 1983 and provided the area with an alternative to airline travel. The service logged millions of accident-free miles and transported passengers to thousands of cities throughout North America and the Caribbean. Flightline carried a variety of notable passengers including Chuck Yeager, Bob Hope, The Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffett, Hulk Hogan, and even former President George H. W. Bush.

Concurrent with its efforts that began in 1984 to develop minimum standards for Tallahassee Regional Airport, Flightline promoted the privatization of fuel sales to foster economic development and improve services in the State's capital. Flightline’s vision and commitment to establishing a full-service quality aviation support center led to the sale of their helicopter aeromedical contracts in October 1989. The decision to sell the contracts allowed Flightline to devote complete attention to the issue of privatization and development of a full-service fixed base operation. The Tallahassee City Commission issued a request for proposal (RFP) in October 1990, prompting Flightline to submit a detailed bid describing the facilities, services, and amenities that would be provided. In August 1991, Flightline was awarded a thirty-five year contract to provide Tallahassee its first full-service aviation support center. It was at this point that Coastal Aviation Services officially became Flightline Group. The name was chosen to represent both the plethora of services that make up Flightline and the pooling together of the resources and experiences of the businesses located at the Tallahassee Regional Airport. A key component to bringing this project to fruition was the design, funding, and construction of a world-class general aviation terminal and support infrastructure. The new general aviation terminal opened in November 1994, creating a first-class aviation gateway to Florida’s Capital City. This iconic building is wellknown for both its grand architectural style and the genuine 1946 Piper J-3 Cub gracefully suspended from its three-story vaulted ce

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