April 1, 2013
Steve Lassetter, president and COO of Sun Air Jets in Camarillo, California, doesn’t complain about his 173-mile roundtrip commute to work. In fact, “going to and from work is the best part of my day,” he says. Lassetter flies his 1984 Mooney 201 from Cable Airport, near his home in Upland, to his workplace on Camarillo Airport. The flight takes about 30 minutes, compared to driving as long as three hours in congested Los Angeles-area traffic. “It just doesn’t make sense to drive,” he says, “and it’s fun to fly.” He has been commuting by airplane since 2004. “I’ve only missed a few days because of bad weather, so I’ve made about 1,750 round trips to date.”
A Texas native, Lassetter, 61, got the flying bug as a child, hounding his father to take him to Dallas-Love Field to watch the airplanes. He earned his private pilot certificate in 1975 and, like many young pilots in the 1970s, he wanted to fly for the airlines. Unfortunately, he didn’t meet the airlines’ strict vision requirements, so with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an MBA to his credit, he joined the marketing team of a small charter company that flew King Airs and Learjets.
From there, Lassetter went to Jet Fleet Corporation, a charter turbine aircraft company. Moving up, he joined AMR Combs, the business aviation affiliate of American Airlines (later sold to Signature Flight Support), spending two years in Hong Kong developing the exclusive FBO at Hong Kong International Airport. After that project was completed, he was at the helm of the Signature FBO at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport in Atlanta before going to the West Coast. An FBO and on-demand jet charter service, Sun Air caters mostly to businesspeople, but because of its location near Los Angeles, the company also gets its share of celebrities.
Like most avid aviators, Lassetter doesn’t limit his flying to his commute. He also flies for pleasure, logging visits to Texas, Lake Tahoe, and Idaho.
Even with occasional flights in the company’s Gulfstreams and Hawkers, Lassetter likes his Monday-through-Friday Mooney flights the best. “I work in a fascinating business, and I get to fly to work every day,” he says. “I can’t think of a more rewarding aviation career.”
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Able Flight, the nonprofit organization that works to provide free flight training to individuals with physical disabilities, announced the awards of a record-setting nine scholarships in 2014.
Smith Field in Fort Wayne, Ind., has withstood three separate attacks—in the 1970s, 1990s, and 2002—to close it and redevelop the land. Now, it's thriving.
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