About Us

How It All Started

A business partner asked Mike Tarascio in 1981 to join him at an electronics conference in New Jersey. Mike’s interest was piqued when his partner invited him to fly there in a small 4-seater airplane. He eagerly accepted the invitation and this became an event that changed his life.

That first flight from Long Island to New Jersey exposed Mike to the possibilities of personal aviation and planted the seed that led to his passionate pursuit of both a lifestyle and a business built around introducing and enabling others the freedom and privilege of flight. That first flight experience dovetailed with Mike’s entrepreneurial nature. He became determined to get his pilots license and to create a company that would lead others to discover aviation. His personal experience brought him to the understanding that flying was in reach to most anyone who has dreamt of flying.

Together with his wife Maureen, Mike purchased an airplane in 1982 and started Air East Airways. Air East continued to grow and expand, eventually adding more aircraft and services such as aircraft maintenance, avionics, and aircraft charter. Later, joined by his sons, and then in 2000 together they built a new facility at Republic Airport where they still operate today. The fleet currently includes two Learjets, an Astar helicopter, five Piper Warriors, and a Mooney M20J. In 2003, Air East acquired Ventura. Founded in 1955, they brought an even greater company legacy, a highly experienced management team, and a name we liked better than our own.

Why Ventura?

We believe that we are the best choice for Flight Training for many reasons.

  • We are the oldest continuously owned flight school at Republic.
  • We have a staff of extremely qualified and professional flight instructors.
  • We ensure safety with our aircraft which are maintained to the highest standards by maintaining them ourselves.

We offer a unique experience as a flight school. As a large, multi-faceted aviation company we can offer both experience and exposure to what few flight schools can.

Training with Ventura, you walk right in to the hangar and can talk to our team of mechanics who gladly will show you aircraft systems.

We also have jets and active charter pilots who are more than happy to talk with you about flying more advanced equipment and the aviation industry as a whole.

Ventura has its own facility offering you direct access to our aircraft unlike other companies on the field. More importantly, Ventura is a community comprised of our staff, crews, students, renters, instructors, on staff pilots, and a number of people who tie their aircraft down at our facility. There are always people around that share their passion for aviation and would love nothing more than to help out a new student.

Finally, we take a different approach to flight training from other flight schools. Where other flight schools focus on creating career pilots with rigid programs designed only for those who are looking to make a job out of flying. This group is generally made up of recent high school and college graduates.

Ventura has a focus based on the desire and passion to fly. While we teach to the highest standards and prepare our students as if they were going to be flying for an airline, our students are most often professionals from other career paths who desire to learn how to fly.

It’s our mission to “inspire and empower extraordinary living through flight”. We want to show you how aviation can change your life because it has changed all of ours.

This is a family company that was founded on the principle of improving lifestyle through personal aviation. We do this because we believe in it and love to fly!

Further, we operate our business guided by…

Our Core Values

The six core values that we live by:

  1. Support One Another – Inspire, challenge, and support one another in being our best.
  2. Fun – Be positive. Be enthusiastic. Have fun and celebrate our achievements.
  3. Speak Up! – Be outspoken. Voice constructive suggestions and concerns. 
  4. Above and Beyond – Exceed expectations. Create an exceptional customer experience. 
  5. Do It Right – Get it right the first time. Every time.
  6. Constant Never-Ending Improvement – Be proactive. Learn and improve.

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