RidgeAire traces its history back to 1967 when Bud & Frances Ridgley established Ridgley Aviation in Bay City, Texas.
They moved to Jacksonville in 1962 and established a base of operations at Cherokee County Airport (KJSO). Since then, the Ridgley family has continuously operated aviation-related businesses at the airport, making the family a staple on the ramp.
After graduating from high school and serving in the United States Navy, Bud and Fran’s son Brian returned home to join the family business. He learned the business from the flightline: ground handling, fueling, eventually moving up to sales, and finally taking over ownership.
Cherokee County Airport is a top-performing airport in the region. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, our airport delivers the largest economic benefit to the community of any airport in Northeast Texas without scheduled airline service.
Supporting over 100 jobs and an annual payroll of $3.9M, Cherokee County Airport is an economic engine for business development; it connects us to the region and to the world, fulfilling the vital role that America’s airports play in our national economy.
RidgeAire is proud to support the local economy by serving national and international clients with local talent. Our people live our mission every day, bringing an attitude of service with them when they arrive on the field. When you interact with us, you’ll know that we take care of our customers and partners like family.
At RidgeAire, we’re pilots, too. Whether you’re an ATP, 10 thousand-hour multiengine, or a newly minted private pilot, we speak your language! We understand what you’re looking for in an aircraft, the subtle nuances between models, and how to get your next transaction closed.
We care deeply about our customers and business. Bud and Frances built this business from the ground up, all while raising six children and serving their community.
Everything that RidgeAire is today can be traced back to the values, determination, and hard work that Bud and Fran poured into this business.
RidgeAire is now in its second generation of family ownership, and Brian continues our proud tradition of delivering value and results to our customers.
Honor, Courage, & Commitment are the core values of the United States Navy. They’re the values that Brian carried with him as an 18-year-old Seaman recruit, through his naval service, and now back in civilian life.
He didn’t first learn about these values at boot camp; he learned them around the kitchen table. They're the values that Bud and Fran raised him to embrace, and they’re the values that guide our business today.
As a second-generation owned family business, we know that we owe our successes today to our heritage. Bud and Fran built this business and set Brian up to take RidgeAire to the next level.
Bud and Frances are sadly no longer with us and we miss their smiling faces around Cherokee County Airport.
The legacy that they’ve given to us is a rich one. It starts with our motto, a basic sign of respect for every person that we interact with: people are more important than airplanes.
We treasure the memory of them operating the business that they loved and sharing life with their friends and family
In honor of their contributions to this business, our airport, and our community, we wish to share these family photos of them throughout the years.