Wearing a cape as a child was my introduction to aviation. I do not come from money nor did I grow up in an aviation family. My sights were always set a bit higher than most around me. There was something about flight as a kid growing up in Western Pennsylvania that excited me. When I would share my passion to fly, I was laughed at, or dismissed. Where I come from, if you did not have resources, a dream of flight was farther out of reach. This girl, however, did not care for excuses or being told she couldn’t do something. She just…did! I definitely had the bumps and bruises that marked my thrill believing I could fly. That kid, running to gain speed, and thinking my feet would lift off the ground, ascending me way above the earth’s surface. What I soon discovered, flight was possible and in reaching new heights, I had to create it for myself. This blog is a chance to share with those, young and seasoned, a child’s dream of flight turned into a business with flight operations. One serving a global footprint of unique global flight missions, airshow programs, aviation nonprofits and related film, production and talent. My name is Lyndse Costabile, welcome aboard!
FunD Av Brings a Different Vibe to Aviation Community
Starting my company in spring 2018 wasn’t just by chance or even on purpose. There’s a select group of trusted mentors who supported my goals and endeavors for years, one being Mr. Jerry Holland, founder of Sheltair. His words of encouragement in January 2018 accelerated this process. Why FunD Av Consulting (FAC) and how is the company using its platform to help youth and the aviation community? Who are these mentors and why are they important?
I am quite confident Mr. Holland does not know how much he has truly impacted my life. I hope through sharing this first piece of many, it will finally register.
Today, and for the month of March, we celebrate International Women’s Day, and Women’s History Month. With these celebrations, I started to look back on the last few months which for almost 50 days was filled with flying adventures, outreach events and multiple industry conventions and shows.
This year’s NBAA’s (National Business Aviation Association) Schedulers and Dispatchers (SDC) conference in Nashville, TN, I reflected on five years ago when I met with the executive leadership of Sheltair. It was that time in 2018, January 23-26, the journey to create FunD Av Consulting (FAC) to serve so many in our sector, began! Mr. Holland and I connected during my tenure at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University around 2012. Sheltair participated heavily in many Embry-Riddle projects, aided the launch of the FBO Management Program, and took care of multiple VIPs who flew in for Embry-Riddle events, meetings and projects. Even if Mr. Holland doesn’t realize it, he had one of the biggest impacts on my life and professional career. His way of leading in business, running a family-owned and operated enterprise and how he treated his employees, I admired, and still admire, deeply. Today, Sheltair is one of the few – if not only – medium size FBO network privately owned. His daughter and my dear friend, Lisa Holland, succeeded Jerry in 2020. A great way to keep this phenomenal company in the family, and what a rare existence in our current aviation climate of ongoing mergers and acquisitions. Not only do I admire Jerry, but I’ve also been inspired watching Lisa excel in her role leading the company and tuning its culture, while staying consistent with Sheltair values, to current times. Men are our greatest allies, and it’s also wonderful to see a phenomenal woman, like Lisa, in a leadership role!
When I met with Jerry five years ago, the thought of starting my own company was not foreign, it wasn’t even on a whim. It was strategic in nature, however, the timeline to launch was moved up by two years from my initial goal. The October prior, we just completed the “Dreams Soar: Global Solo Flight for STEM,” in which Shaesta Waiz, first civilian female pilot from Afghanistan, completed a 145-day solo flight to 22 countries, 30 stops over five continents, covering nearly 25,000 nautical miles, and 33 outreach events. I ensured Sheltair was a partner to the global flight early in that planning. Not only did Sheltair support the base location and operations for the A36 Beechcraft Bonanza, but they were also the launch and return location for a notable and record-setting flight! After leading this global mission, I thought “what could be more challenging?” Well, running your own business of course! Next challenge…accepted. Let’s do this!
The global flight took everything out of me – in a good way. Lots of lessons learned, so much to be proud of with all those involved. Dreams Soar was the most rewarding project I’ve ever led or participated in, and surely, one for the books! However, I was also left with more limited resources to start my company, having taken a year break from my career to support the flight, as it required 24/7 of my time and attention to be successful. It was mentors like Jerry who motivated me and encouraged me to start the company in phases. So, I did! There’s something to be said about having great mentors – those in your corner who, without a doubt, you know have your back and the purest of intentions. They look out for your well-being, even when you are not. These mentors do not fear directing you, correcting you, and even, saving you from yourself. Well, if I know Jerry, he shies away from any limelight (although he deserves it!) and is someone who cares to reward, recognize and celebrate others, not himself. So, I cannot ever forget to mention those mentors, next to Jerry, who gets the credit for starting FunD Av Consulting. Anthony Costabile, Bruce Ganger, Dr. Bruce Orvis, Lisa Kollar, Kathleen Hennessey, Lou Seno, Kaye Gitibin, Adriana Hall, Greg Nuccetelli, Rufus James, Lisa Hoverman —- If not for each of you, FunD Av would not have a place in this world. Your mentorship is invaluable.
The NBAA SDC show was the first show FunD Av Consulting attended in ‘phase 1’ of getting up and running early 2018. It’s amazing, time-wise, how attending SDC recently in Nashville landed on the anniversary of both FAC and its first show! Not to mention, attending SDC in 2018 equipped FunD Av with its first two clients, namely the “I Hart Flying Foundation and founder, Rachelle” for who Sheltair is also an active partner. Within six months of existence, FAC was working to support multiple aviation clientele.
FAC not only serves clients, but the company sponsors several aviation-related outreach programs, projects and nonprofits. In summer 2019, FAC helped establish Aviation Influence, Inc. (AVi), a nonprofit whose purpose is to elevate the interest, engagement and enthusiasm of youth through hands-on STEM and aviation outreach locally and in underrepresented regions. In spring 2020, FAC launched an aviation support arm called, “From Sacrifice to Soaring,” in which Sheltair is also a partner.
As I advance this themed monthly blog with Sheltair, you will become more intimately involved in special projects FAC has oversight. Some of these, just to give a teaser, involve WWII aircraft, a presidential aircraft restoration, global flight missions, female flight training scholarships, and more! FAC is now a team of 10 and growing. We love to have fun, we all enjoy the freedom of flight, engaging with industry, and supporting this sector with everything we have. We invite you to learn more about us here: FunDAvConsulting.com
Stay tuned for the next blog!