On Oct. 31, 1930, Coast Guard veteran and experienced pilot Jim Galvin opened Galvin Flying Service on Boeing Field with his Ryan B-1 Broughm. He offered charter flights, flight training and aerial photography. He also flew search and rescue missions, and even took couples up so they could get married over the Seattle skyline. In 1937, he married his lifelong love, Marian, who became a staple around Galvin Flying, doing everything except teaching flight school.
In the 1940s, Jim trained many college students to become military pilots, and, when Pearl Harbor was attacked, he joined the Navy and served for four years in the Air Ferry Command.
When he returned to Seattle, he resumed the reins of Galvin Flying and over the next decade added refueling to his service offerings, along with becoming a sales distributor for Piper, Swift and Bellanca.
In 1969, Jim’s 15-year-old nephew, Peter Anderson, got his start at Galvin Flying sweeping floors and washing planes. By the mid-1970s, Peter had graduated to refueling planes, and Jim was in his late 50s. After much consideration, and advice from confidants, Jim decided to groom Peter, who was in his early 20s, to take over the business. Although Peter was young, and Jim had the opportunity to sell, he wanted the business to stay in the family. So he set about training Peter and, in 1979, handed over the business management to his nephew, and settled into the position of chairman of the board. He officially retired in 1989 at the age of 85.
Under Peter’s direction, the business continued to thrive, and expanded its footprint on Boeing Field, which laid the groundwork for later success by allowing Galvin to offer hangar storage for aircraft owners. Galvin Flying served Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton when they came to Seattle.
Peter stayed on with Galvin Flying as CEO until 2014. After a brief ownership by Landmark Aviation, local pilot Skip Moshner purchased Galvin Flying in 2015, bringing it back under private, local ownership.
Although Jim Galvin passed away in 1991, his legacy of providing the best customer service and the finest flight instruction available lives on. His dedication to creating excellent aviators and world-class experiences permeates every aspect of Galvin Flying today.
As the aviation industry started to take off in the 1940s, Jim Galvin purchased land to build an airport for aviation clubs. That site is now SeaTac International Airport.
For years, a myna bird named George greeted customers in the lobby with “Welcome to Galvin Flying!”
In the mid-1950s, Jim Galvin received the Pioneer in Aviation Commendation from OX5 Aviation Pioneers
Galvin Flying was a founding member of the National Air Transportation Association in 1940
Donald Duck visited Galvin Flying in 1985 for his 50th Birthday Tour
Jim Galvin bought his first plane in 1930, a Swallow with a Hispana-Suiza engine