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How It All Started

In 1981, a business partner invited Mike Tarascio to join him at an electronics conference in New Jersey. Mike’s interest in aviation was piqued when that 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 a seed. That flight led to his passionate pursuit of both a lifestyle and a business built around introducing and enabling others with the freedom and privilege of flight. Mike became determined to get his pilots license and to create a company that would lead others to discover aviation. His personal experiences made him realize that flying was within the reach of almost anyone. 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 aircrafts and services such as: aircraft maintenance, avionics, and aircraft charter. He was later joined by his sons. Then in 2000, 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. Ventura was founded in 1955, and came with a great company legacy. Ventura also came with a highly experienced management team, and a name we liked better than our own.

Meet Your Crew

Michael Tarascio
President & Founder

Airline Transport Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor- Mike’s love of flying began in 1981 while flying in a small 4-seater airplane. He became determined to get his license and create his own aviation company. In 1982, he created Air East Airways, an enterprise that charted millions of flight miles for thousands of ordinary individuals and families, businesses, entertainers, world-leaders, and even organ transplant recipients. Air East later acquired Ventura, where Mike’s passion for aviation has continued. Mike has logged 20,000+ hours of flight time.

Nick Tarascio
Chief Executive Officer

Nick started lessons at 14, soloed on his 16 birthday, earned his private pilots license on his 17th birthday and was flying Learjets at 19. Aerobatics came 10 years later, but has become his current flying obsession. With his Mooney 231, he has flown all over the US with his favorite destinations being Arizona and Colorado due to the dramatic landscapes and challenges associated with mountain flying. He currently has roughly 2600 hours total time.

Team Members

Ilya Kipnis
Certified Flight Instructor

Certified Flight instructor

Advanced Ground Flight instructor

Amro Aly
Chief Certified Flight Instructor

Instrument Rated

Flight Instructor

Instrument Flight Instructor

Elisha McElroy
Certified Flight instructor

Instrument Rated

Flight Instructor

Instrument Flight Instructor

Youssef Sabry
Dispatch / Account Manager

Private Pilot

John Palmer
Flight Instructor

Commercial Pilot / Airplane Single & Multi-Engine Land

Flight Instructor, Airplane Single Engine Land and Sea

Gold Seal Instrument Flight Instructor

Learjet Type Rating Lear 35 and 55

Airline Transport Pilot

Cirrus Standardized Instructor Avidyne/Perspective Avionics