Aero-One Aviation, an FBO serving Alabama’s Dothan Regional Airport (KDHN), began operations in 2010 and it has been the lone service provider there since 2014, after buying out its competitor. The company operates its main terminal in a 5,000-sq-ft building formerly occupied by the U.S. Air Force, dating back to the airport’s past as a military base. While older than most FBO terminals the building has been renovated several times over its history, the most recent being four years ago. Aero-One is continually working to keep it fresh, having replaced all the interior furniture over the past year.
Amenities at the Air Elite FBO Network member facility include a passenger lounge, pilot lounge with snooze room, showers, pilot shop, conference room, flight planning area, and the Prop & Rotor Café (which of course being in Alabama serves barbeque), along with in-house car rental and crew cars.
The location operates 130,000 sq ft of hangar space, which is home to 26 turbine-powered aircraft ranging from a Daher TBM 900 to a Citation Longitude. Aero-One expects to break ground in the spring on a new $2 million, 15,000-sq-ft hangar, which when completed by the end of 2022 will be able to handle the latest ultra-long-range business jets.
The World Fuel Services-branded FBO sees approximately 1,200 operations a month and handles all the fueling at the airport for general, commercial, and military aviation operators. With the U.S. Army’s fixed-wing flight school right across the field, along with major U.S. Navy and Air Force training bases located nearby, the latter traffic accounts for nearly a fifth of the FBO’s activity. Aero-One even operates a satellite 1,100-sq-ft terminal to accommodate visiting military crews while their aircraft are being hot-fueled.
With line staff trained in the NATA Safety 1st program, Aero-One operates six 5,000-gallon jet-A tankers and one avgas truck, all of which are equipped with wireless transmitters to relay purchase information directly to the customer service desk. The trucks draw from the FBO’s fuel farm, which has a capacity of 92,000 gallons of jet fuel and 15,000 gallons of 100LL avgas.
The FBO, which occupies 23 acres at KDHN, is staffed weekdays from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. through 7 p.m. on weekends with after-hours callout available. When it comes to customer service, general manager Scott Capehart explained, “We have a great team, but it’s also what people say, that southern hospitality. We expect to always provide that kind of service, and it's out of the norm if it's not.” That hospitality extends to picking up customer lunch orders from a local sandwich shop and bundling them up in a basket along with some extra treats and a thank you note before putting it on the aircraft.
According to Capehart, while Dothan is considered a small city, its population swells from 75,000 on the weekend to 275,000 during the week, based on activity at the local industries.