Jason Figarsky - Director of Maintenance, Talon Air Inc.

Jason Figarsky is the director of maintenance for Talon Air Inc., a Part 135 operation at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, N.Y. He is also the general manager for Talon Air Maintenance Services, the company’s Part 145 repair station. D.O.M. magazine sat down with Figarsky to learn about what it takes to manage these operations.

Early interest in things mechanical

Figarsky tells D.O.M. that he had an early interest in all things mechanical. “My dad used to buy old cars and we would tinker around with them and sell them,” he says. “I had mechanical aptitude. I also had a keen interest in aviation. I would often drive out to McArthur airport here on Long Island. The airport had a fenced-in area where people would park their cars and watch the planes take off and land. I would go there all the time. I even took a couple of dates there.”

Figarsky says he knew early on that he didn’t want to be an auto mechanic. Although he was enjoyed working on cars, he didn’t want to do it as a career. He was driven towards aviation and wanted to pursue a career as an aircraft mechanic.

Figarsky decided pursue his dream of becoming an aircraft mechanic. He enrolled in a local Part 147 school. Unfortunately, a few weeks into the semester, Figarsky realized his schedule was messed up and that he was enrolled in the wrong courses. He ended up having to drop out that semester because the classes he needed to be taking were already full.

Working at the car wash

Figarsky worked at a local car wash to make some extra money while he waited for next semester’s courses. “During a conversation with a customer one day, she asked me if I was going to school” Figarsky tells D.O.M. “I told her I wasn’t, and shared what had happened with my classes at school. She then told me that her father, Charlie Humphries, owned Metro Air, a small flight school at McArthur airport here on Long Island. She offered to talk to her dad and see if he could get me a job there.”

“Stay out of aviation, kid!”

Humphries didn’t hire Figarsky right away. “He didn’t want to hire me,” shares Figarsky. “He tried to steer me away from aviation and kept telling me, ‘Stay out of aviation, kid! It’s no good.’”

But Figarsky wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. He was persistent and kept on contacting Humphries. After about three months, Humphries finally gave in and hired Figarsky.


An early mentor

From day one at Metro Air, Figarsky wanted to learn as much about aviation maintenance as he could. Even though Figarsky was hired on the ground level sweeping floors, he didn’t let that stop him from pursuing his dream of working as an aircraft mechanic. Five years after getting hired at Metro Air, he was a senior tech in the hangar. He got signed off to take the tests for his A&P certificate based on experience, passed the tests and received his A&P certificate — all thanks to mentoring and on-the-job training.

Figarsky was able to gain a lot of his knowledge courtesy of Glen Hunter, Metro Air’s director of maintenance. “Glen would let me help him with inspections,” Figarsky tells D.O.M. “He taught me about 8130s and the whole regulatory side of maintenance. He tried to teach me everything he knew. He was an early mentor in my career. He taught me more than just what it takes to be a good mechanic. He taught me what it takes to be a good director of maintenance.”

After seven years at Metro Air, Figarsky took a job at Executive Flightways, a Part 135 operator on Long Island. He was there for around two and a half years. After that, he worked for Summit Aviation, where he progressed from a technician working night shift to maintenance foreman and eventually assistant director of maintenance. Talon Air hired Figarsky as its director of maintenance in 2007.

Secrets to success?

D.O.M. asked Figarsky what his secret to success has been. He shares that “walking the walk” is a major factor in his success. “I would never ask anybody to do what I wouldn’t do myself,” Figarsky shares. “Whether it is performing a certain task, staying late or working overtime — if I wouldn’t be willing to do it myself, I would never ask it of anyone else. For example, I had a talk with my staff just the other day. We are getting into a heavy maintenance period and I am asking for a little overtime here and there. Every time I ask them to stay, I stay here as well, helping out any way I can.”

New employees

Talon Air has tripled its aircraft since Figarsky was hired. The increased workload has led to the doubling of staff. D.O.M. asked him what he looks for in new employees. Based on his own rise up the career ladder from floor sweeper to director of maintenance, it is not surprising to hear his response.

“For a general mechanic, I focus on the integrity and eagerness of the candidates. I don’t necessarily focus on what they have worked on, because they can be educated through training. It’s about integrity. I want to see candidates who want to learn as much as I did when I first started out. If they have that eagerness, we will then take the time to train them on the technical aspect of the job. I helped train two individuals to receive their A&P certificates. They started out as cleaners. I helped them using the King School videos for A&P, and working closely with them on learning new maintenance tasks under supervision. I dedicated my personal time into this because I felt they were worthy to receive that extra attention.”

Another thing Figarsky looks for in all employees is teamwork. “We have a Lear 60 downstairs getting worked on right now,” Figarsky shares. “Talon Air doesn’t operate a Lear 60, so it’s not an airframe we see every day. But some of our guys have quite a bit of experience with the aircraft, and we will rely on them to take the lead and help show some of the others the ropes.

“I don’t want anyone to hide their knowledge,” Figarsky continues. “I want them to be willing to share. It’s a trait I look for in all employees. A good example of that trait is John Carmen, our ‘resident guru’ on just about everything aviation — from helicopters to large fixed-wing aircraft and avionics. He has been around the block and is always willing to share. He has taken many employees under his wing and shown them the ropes. I have a great staff and they are all team players.”

Repair station

A lot of Figarsky’s time during the past several years has been helping get Talon Air Maintenance Service’s Part 145 certification. The repair station recently celebrated its one-year anniversary.

Figarsky and Christopher Zarzano, the company’s quality assurance manager, were instrumental in getting the repair station up to speed. “We had a consultant come in a couple of times to help us form the basis of the manuals for approval, but Chris and I worked together on the facility organization and staffing and worked with the FAA on our certification,” Figarsky shares.

The repair station allows Talon Air to not only work on its own aircraft, but to bring in outside work as well. Although the amount of outside work is not a large percentage of Talon Air Maintenance Service’s work at this time, Figarsky and the management team are focusing on this capability as an opportunity for significant growth in the future.

Getting involved

When asked what advice he would give to someone entering the field of aviation maintenance, Figarsky says, “Stick with it, have lots of drive, and want to succeed. Opportunities are out there, you just need to make the right connections. Get involved in all of the organizations that you can.”

Figarsky walks the walk when it comes to getting involved. He is a newly-appointed board member for the Long Island Business Aviation Association (LIBAA). He also works closely with Hawker Beechcraft. Because of Talon Air’s close relationship with Hawker Beechcraft (it is the largest private operator of the Hawker 4000), Figarsky is the chairman of the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA’s) Hawker 4000 technical committee. He is also part of the Hawker 4000 customer advisory board for Hawker Beechcraft, as well as the customer advisory team.


Figarsky shares that he is grateful to be where he is today. “I’m very excited to have this position in the company. Talon Air is a growing company. We just built another hangar next door. That gives us another 30,000 square feet of hangar space and 30,000 square feet of office area. In the troubling financial times we have seen the past several years, there have been a lot of companies that have hurt for business or closed down. Talon Air is growing in leaps and bounds. I find myself fortunate to be with the company and to work with great people.” 

About D.O.M. Magazine

D.O.M. magazine is the premier magazine for aviation maintenance management professionals. Its management-focused editorial provides information maintenance managers need and want including business best practices, professional development, regulatory, quality management, legal issues and more. The digital version of D.O.M. magazine is available for free on all devices (iOS, Android, and Amazon Kindle).

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