2015 Ralph Hunter Cuthbertson was a visionary and pioneer of the aviation industry in South Carolina and throughout the Southeast. Born in Mcbee in 1920, he received his primary pilot training from Jim Hamilton at the L.B. Owens Field in Columbia.
Cuthbertson served his country as a Squadron Commanding Officer in World War II, before becoming a pilot for Pan American Airline, the largest International Air Carrier in the United States from 1927 until 1991. He was also the personal pilot for Pan Am founder Juan Trippe.
Cuthbertson was a leader and early pioneer of the corporate flight department concept, which was considered highly innovative in the 1950s. He started programs for J.P. Stevens, Inc., Milliken Aviation, Spartan Mills, Greenwood Mills and Daniel Construction.
He was the founder and CEO of Steven’s Aviation, Inc., a fixed base operator (FBO) in Greenville. He was an original pioneer of the multiple-location FBO chain — prevalent now but unheard of in the 1950s and 60s. He began and managed other locations in Atlanta, Knoxville, Nashville, Dayton and Denver, and many of these locations are still operating today.
Ralph Cuthbertson died at the age of 59, leaving a family legacy of aviators through his children and grandchildren.