The Cutting Edge

The Faces of Leading Edge: Kyle Wagman

Our motto is “we have been in business aviation since there has been business aviation.” The history of Leading Edge dates back to the 1960’s and continues until now. But as time goes by, we must evolve and look to the younger generations for fresh perspectives and ideas.

Kyle Wagman has been with LEAS for almost 5 years and has had a passion for aviation since a young age. He is an innovative thinker and dedicated team member, always willing to go the extra mile to get the job done. If you need to find out anything about an aircraft on the market, coming to market, off market – Kyle is your guy! As Director of Aircraft Transactions & Consulting, he leads our market intel and research efforts.  

We asked Kyle some questions about his experience in aviation and his predictions for the future.

What got you interested in aviation?
As a kid my parents would take me to the airport, and I loved watching the aircraft take off and land. I always wanted to be as close as I could to them whether it was flying in them or hopefully flying them myself one day. As soon as I turned 16, shortly after getting my driver’s license I asked my parents if I could start flying lessons. While I never officially got my “pilot’s license,” I was able to solo on a few occasions which was a huge self-accomplishment! Being around the aircraft – watching and flying – basically got me interested in the industry. Not just the aircraft, but the people (pilots, crew etc) made me love the industry even more.

What advice do you have for the “older” generation when working with YoPro’s?
To me, there is a huge age gap in the private aviation industry. There’s a lot of “veterans of the industry” that have been around for a long time and offer a wealth of knowledge. There’s also a lot of YoPro’s (under 35) that are willing and ready to learn. Each group can learn new things from one another. Younger people want to be more involved and given a chance to learn. In my experience, those that have been in the industry for a while are always willing to help the younger crowd. My advice would be to never stop learning and keep an open mind. Working at Leading Edge has really proven this, as I am learning from the most professional and talented group of aviation professionals around.

How can those currently working in the industry get more involved?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get more involved. Network, Network, Network – virtually and at in person events. When I attend events, I make sure to participate and gain everything I can. Our industry is really quite small, and the best way to learn is from our peers.

How do you see the industry evolving?
There has been an enormous amount of wealth created in the last few years so the market has gotten larger not smaller. Post-Covid there have been more users of private aviation than ever before. There has been a huge influx of businesses to the industry because of the large increase of end users. Airplanes will continue to last longer with better construction & engineering. People who have never flown private before will start flying charter, fractional or they may just go straight to buying an aircraft. We have seen a lot of first-time buyers over the last few years, several who never thought they would own an aircraft. 

Where do you see the industry in 5 years?
The industry is certainly healthy, but there are a few challenges we face.  We certainly need more pilots, and mechanics to keep up with the trends.  However, there is one primary external threat to private aviation – environmental issues. While many companies are doing their part to make their environmental impact a priority, our industry has not fully evolved yet into the “green” space. An environmental program that the NBAA and others have endorsed is SAF  (sustainable aviation fuel) However, it has not become “practical” yet because of the huge cost and lack of availability associated. We need to find a balance between the “green” and being sustainable. Our industry needs to adapt and ultimately become more environmentally friendly.  If not, we will see “Plane Shaming” and other protests become more popular. 

What would you say to your younger self/recent graduates?
I would tell myself to take internship and learning opportunities more seriously and to take advantage of all the people I have met through the years. No connection is too small.  You would be amazed with how small the industry is, yet, everyone knows everyone.  Keep in contact with the people you meet, collect business cards, and stay in touch.  You never know who you may work with 20 years down the line.

Favorite memory working in aviation?
My favorite memory is a memory in the making. I have been fortunate enough to learn at Leading Edge, and after joining nearly 5 years ago I am finally ready to transition from the research side of the business into a sales-driven role.  Getting to be around aircraft (and selling them) every day is a dream of mine that is becoming a reality.

When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy?

I really like photography of all kinds. I am also a volunteer firefighter/EMT and love giving back to my community in that way. I also enjoy hanging out with friends and spending my summers at my family’s beach house.