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‘All in the Family’ Style Fuels New York Jet and Aviation’s Future

RONKONKOMA, New York – When Edith Bunker, the gentle matriarch in Norm Lear’s groundbreaking 1970s TV series All in the Family, once mentioned this Long Island hamlet, her fictional husband Archie suddenly grew remarkably attentive. 

Family-run business owners might share Archie’s captivated interest of Ronkonkoma if they visit New York Jet, a fixed-base operator serving Long Island MacArthur Airport (ISP) midway between bustling Manhattan and The Hamptons. The same bloodline has kept this family business blossoming for nearly eight decades. And, like TV’s Edith Bunker, the Mancuso crew behind this Phillips 66® branded FBO embraces what it means to be all-in-the-family.

“What sets us apart? It’s the family-run environment,” says John Macchia, Operations Manager for New York Jet. “We treat our employees as if they’re family, we treat our customers as if they’re family. Everybody works together, everybody’s a team, and the customer sees that. They come in the door and they’re like, ‘Wow, everybody looks happy to be here.’ Customers feel that love, and that makes them confident coming here and bringing us their business.”

Of course, cultivating confidence in aviation begins with a foundation of trusted experience. For the Mancuso family behind New York Jet and its sister operation Mid Island Air Service, it’s more like a well-seasoned marinara sauce, blending pilot training, air traffic control, FBO services – and even stunt piloting – into an enticing base that builds from there.

During his life, founder Lou Mancuso trained hundreds of pilots while building a successful air services business; his son Louis Jr. once sold more Piper aircraft than anyone in the Northeast; sister Gail, an FAA-certified flight dispatcher, managed a regional airlines’ flight department at bustling LaGuardia Airport, then became New York Jet’s general manager for over 30 years; and grandson Michael, a renowned stunt pilot, thrilled audiences during more than 1,000 daring aerobatics shows. Michael also has nearly a dozen type ratings, over 14,000 hours of flight time, and currently flies and manages corporate jets.

“We’ve been down so many avenues of aviation, a little bit of everything and anything,” John Macchia says. “But it began with flight training. Lou Mancuso was ex-military, and he wanted to give back. He wanted to teach people how to fly. It’s taken off from there.”

In fact, Macchia’s own career took off when he started flight training with Mid Island Air Services while studying aviation at college. He went from working customer service for the FBO during school to learning the line, working outside fueling planes, marshalling aircraft, moving tugs and greeting passengers. When the FBO’s longtime flight operations manager retired, Macchia’s well-rounded grasp of policies and procedures catapulted him into the position. 

Join the Aviation Family

If anything exemplifies New York Jet’s all-in-the-family attitude, it’s their cultivation of aviation professionals. In addition to doting on passengers and pilots and selling Phillips 66 jet and avgas fuel, the Mancuso family remains committed to nurturing the future of flight.

The FBO created a foundation that funds annual college scholarships for budding aviation students. Its popular summer Aero Camp introduces youths to the aviation industry. Sixth to 12th graders take SIM lessons, explore aerodynamics, cover flight instruments and ground procedures, tour military and police helicopters, visit aviation museums with antique aircraft, and hear guest speakers like air traffic controllers.

“We tailor the camps based on careers in aviation, where you don’t have to be just a pilot,” explains Macchia. “I’m a prime example, where I love aviation, I love planes, I just don’t fly as a career. But I do get to meet some very interesting and awesome pilots and individuals. We pass that off to the kids, that there are so many avenues to go down in aviation, it’s not just about becoming a pilot.”

And the program works. Brian Sheridan was in New York Jet’s first Aero Camp. He’s now one of their line technicians and holds a CFI commercial license, sometimes piloting the right seat of a Hawker charter jet.

Macchia estimates about a third of the summer campers end up getting a pilot’s certificate. Others, like Sheridan, pursue paths with FBOs or even air traffic control.

Family Comforts

New York Jet works hard to stand apart from other FBOs in the region, says Macchia. Safety is paramount for the only family-run FBO at MacArthur Airport; New York Jet triple chocks every aircraft, while many FBOs only chock one or two wheels. To welcome customers, New York Jet rolls out an actual red carpet for arriving flights and bakes a batch of warm cookies when a jet is 15 minutes out. 

“We try to keep the pilots, passengers and flight attendants as happy as we can,” Macchia says.

Its fuel rewards program is another way the FBO welcomes pilots into the family. Rewards, in this case $50 Visa gift cards, go “directly to the pilots, not the operator, charter company or owner of the jet,” explains Macchia. “We take care of pilots because if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be in business.”

Mission statements are often only as valuable as the paper they’re written on. But at New York Jet, says Macchia, “The mission statement means everything. It’s centered on making customers ecstatically happy while maintaining the dignity of the entire family of Mid Island and New York Jet employees.”

“When you come in here, you feel that environment, you feel that love as far as employees having a smile on their face, going above and beyond, helping our customers,” says Macchia. “At the same time, we love to meet new people, we love having our customers give us feedback. We’re always listening to what they say and what they’re looking for.”

For more about New York Jet, visit