The Cutting Edge

Celebrating What’s Old, But Not Necessarily New

The year is 1968. Nixon wins the White House, MLK Jr. is assassinated, Apollo 8 orbits the moon. That same year, LEAS Chairman Emeritus Joseph Carfagna, Sr. begins his career in business aviation. He is recruited by Bill Lear at Learjet to sell their new business jets in the New York City area. This may seem like a long time ago, that’s because it is. 53 years to be exact. 

Much has happened between then and now. Leading Edge Aviation Solutions is a perfect example of adapting and growing as the industry and world around you does the same. Per our company slogan, our roots have been in business aviation since there has been business aviation. For the past 50+ years, Joe Sr. guided those in the industry, acting as a mentor and aviation pioneer. He joined Executive Air Fleet in 1970 and later formed Wings Aviation International, the predecessor to present-day Leading-Edge Aviation Solutions. Sons Joe Jr., current President, and Craig, current Vice President, as well as wife Kay joined Leading Edge to continue running (and growing!) the business.  Our goal: preserve and leverage the rich history we have in this industry while remaining modern enough for the 21st century.

It is vital as we look ahead to the future, that we do not forget our past. We just completed a redesign of our headquarters in New Jersey over the last few months. See the photos below to view how we showcased the business aviation industry and its history within our walls that we have been part of since the 1960’s.  We chose this theme deliberately as we have a very unique vantage point to have been in this industry since it’s very early days. You will see much of the vintage advertising we chose to display is all about Learjet.  Not only because our history really began there but at the time the name LearJet was synonymous with private jet airplane like Band Aid is to bandages, or Kleenex to tissues. Please take a look:. 

“Working for Bill Lear & Torch Lewis was never dull. Learjet was groundbreaking, we had to convince people of the value of corporate aviation – and we did that successfully.”

Joseph Carfagna, Sr. – Chairman Emeritus of LEAS

What we found interesting about the vintage advertising we chose to display was the messaging that existed back then versus now.  The style and the feel of it is a little different of course, but the basic messages are the same. “Our aircraft can get you there faster, more efficiently and in greater comfort than any other business jet”.  Whether it is dual gyros that were being touted for safety back then or Synthetic Vision that is touted today, the messaging is consistent.  Please read some of these from the 1960’s and 1970’s and I think you’ll agree.  The business jet consumer wanted the same fundamental things 50+ years ago that they are looking for now.

As proud as we are with this redesign of our office showcasing our history that all started at Learjet, it’s a bittersweet time however as it coincides with Bombardier’s recent announcement of its plans to end production of the iconic Learjet brand. As sad as it may be to see a name like Learjet begin to fade off into the past, we are glad that we can relate so well to something that transformed how people traveled privately in the 1960’s. “It’s the end of an era but over time they couldn’t modify the original Lear type design to keep up with competition,” says Joe Sr.

Joe Sr. sold Jack Nicklaus his Learjet, one of his first sales
Torch Lewis standing next to a Learjet

As showcased in these 50+ year old advertisements, whether they are purchasing new or used aircraft, people are still looking for the same fundamental things.  Delivering aircraft to clients also includes fundamental components that have not changed either. Integrity, strong execution, a high level of service, the highest attention to client service all wrapped in professionalism.  We have been keeping that consistent for over 50 years and will continue to do so.  Some things truly never do go out of style.

To see more detail about our history in the business aviation world please visit www.leas/com/story