AOPA President Phil Boyer was among general aviation dignitaries congratulating the Showalter family at the opening of their new FBO facilities in Orlando Saturday. With the third generation of Showalters now participating in the family-run Showalter Flying Service at Orlando Executive Airport, the time seemed right to build a modern facility, explained Kim Showalter, wife of Bob Showalter. It was his father, an uncle, and his father's cousin who founded the business in late 1945. Today, Bob and Kim's daughter Jenny also participates in the business. For decades the business operated out of the old terminal building at Orlando Executive, which was the primary airline airport before the opening of Orlando International. Thirty-one months ago, the family decided to build a new facility, which included the tearing down of the old terminal. During two years of construction, the business has operated out of several portable buildings just down the ramp from the old terminal. The building dedicated Saturday is designed to remind visitors of the prestigious old terminal but to operate more efficiently. The building, with its teal roof, simulated control tower, and wrap-around porch cost $1.8 million. The design gives visitors easy access to landside vehicles and a host of traditional amenities, such as a pilots' lounge, snooze room, showers, conference room, and large meeting room. Two new hangars are planned for the 50-acre site. The Phillips 66 fuel farm also received an upgrade during the construction. One end of the new FBO will accommodate aircraft sales, including the Extra 400. Bob Showalter has been named Extra's Southeast sales and marketing manager. Also at the opening were AOPA Publications Division Senior Vice President Tom Haines and members of the advertising staff.
November 6, 2000