Roger Lloyd Humiston of Plano, Texas passed away on April 19, 2023 related to complications from a fall in his home. Roger is survived by his loving wife of 32 years, Kate Woolstenhulme, and his niece, Jacia (Humiston) Phillips.
The son of Eddie & Doris Humiston, Roger was born in 1947 in Hutchinson, Kansas near Wichita (the “air capital of the world”) and was introduced to flying, and the Learjet in particular, at a young age. At the time when he became a rated pilot in 1967, Roger was unaware that his initial curiosity and fascination with this mysterious, innovative and remarkable machine would lead him on a wondrous journey through life and aviation where he would meet his two dearest passions in life – the 20 series Learjet, and later, his wife, Kate.
In the early days of his flying career, Roger combined his love for country and aviation embarking upon a six-year stint as an aircraft structural repair specialist in a Kansas Air National Guard reconnaissance group. After years of gaining experience in the prop world, in 1973 Roger was able to transition to jets as a co-pilot in a new Sabreliner 40A, s/n 110 (with Mike Sims as captain), making them the youngest Sabreliner flight crew in the United States.
In the late 1970s, Roger became a Learjet instructor at Flight Safety International in Wichita where a client, Ray Stern, invited Roger to come to Dallas, Texas to become President of his jet charter operation business, SternAir. In the early 1980s, under Roger's direction, the business expanded to a 5 jet fleet with worldwide operations, transporting passengers, air ambulance, just-in-time freight, and even hazardous materials. These significant milestones opened a world of opportunity to Roger and facilitated his promotion through the ranks of Private Jet Aviation. After leaving SternAir, Roger operated his own Jet Charter operation, followed as president of Continental Aviation flying two Gulstream Jets on the American Airlines Alliance program. This involved flying high profile individuals all over the world, including the Kuwaiti Ambassador through the smoke of the oil well fires as the first plane to land in Kuwait City following the end of hostilites in the first Guf War.
In 1991, Roger met Kate, and the two had an instant connection, which grew into a deep love for and commitment to one another. In 1992, they were married in the shadow of the Teton Range at Jackson Lake Lodge and embarked upon many memorable journies together. When Kate and Roger married, Roger was at the top of his career flying Gulfstreams worldwide, and Kate was a flourishing artist with a string of gallery shows and publications recognizing her work. They had to choose between two options: they could move to New York City and pursue separate careers, while having to spend lot of time apart, or they could remain in Dallas and start a company together. Ultimately, they chose the second option where Roger took a step back from that pinnacle in his piloting career, and Kate took a hiatus from the art world, and together they launched a company, which initially began from a briefcase and idea, and over the years they built it up to something that became recognized and well-respected by the aviation industry as a whole.
Initially, the business was developed as a discount jet fuel business called Best Aero Net, and with the need for transportation, Roger first bought a twin engine aircraft. After much crisscrossing of the country in a smaller plane and dealing with the ups and downs of turbulent weather, Roger said, "I'm a jet guy, so why am I beating myself up with this piston twin engine? I need a Learjet". So, they bought a Learjet 24B and renovated it, later bringing 5 partners in it. Eventually, those partners either wanted their own individual plane or a larger one, which led to Roger and Kate launching a shared ownership program called Best Jets, where they purchased, refurbished, managed, maintained and crewed the planes. This led to a partnership with GE Engines. Roger set up a GE engine shop with the capability to grind and install GE's modernized CJ610 upgraded engines onto the civilian fleet.
At the company's peak, Best Jets maintained a fleet of 17 lear jets, 3 Falcon 20s and 2 Gulfstreams, employing a staff of 115 employees, with company divisions which included aviation jet fuel, management and flight operation, maintenance, GE engine shop, interior modernization shop. In 2008, they sold the company, and Roger continued flying, brokering and managing Learjets for the next 15 years.
While Kate and Roger had no children together of their own, they were so proud to have mentored and supported so many individuals to launch their careers in aviation, and Roger taught hundreds of pilots to fly the Learjet. They helped launch young pilots into their aviation careers who went on to fly for major airlines and experience higher and higher levels of success.
Over the decades, Roger's experience eventually culminated in actively flying for 50 years, earning 10 jet type ratings, amassing over 20,000 flight hours, and visiting approximately 100 countries. Roger enjoyed a legendary professional flying career that very few are lucky or skilled enough to experience. Ironically and fittingly, this spring prior to his passing, Roger had just finished authoring and publishing a book entitled, What You Need to Know About Owning & Flying 20 Series Learjets in the 21st Century. His objective for writing this masterpiece was not fame and fortune, but rather to share his passion and extensive knowledge for this timeless wonder and to ensure that the 20 series Learjet lives on long after he is gone. Roger was so thrilled to have found a new passion in writing, and was already in the planning stages of his next book - until his life was cut short.
Roger's warmth, generousity and infectious laugh will be missed by many. May he rest in Peace.