EAGLE Co-Chair Castagna Sued By Former Employer


National Air Transportation Association (NATA) President and co-chair of the End Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions (EAGLE) Curt Castagna has allegedly been fired by his former employer and is being sued for damages related to his longtime employment there. According to court documents filed in California earlier this month by his employer, Aerolease Associates LLC, Castagna was fired on April 30. The court filing includes a long list of allegations regarding Castagna’s operation of a business of his own while he was working for Aerolease. Aerolease has its head office at Long Beach and operates, leases and manages hangars at Van Nuys Airport. A copy of the court complaint is copied below, as is a news release issued by Castagna on Wednesday.

In the news release, Castagna says he’s “stepped away” from his job at Aerolease to concentrate on running the Aeroplex Group Partners, the company that is at the heart of Aerolease’s court action against Castagna. In the news release, he says he remains president of NATA and that he’s also president of both the Long Beach and Van Nuys Airport Associations. He did not mention his status at EAGLE. He also didn’t refer to the court action but said he looked forward “to working collaboratively with the ownership interests of the Aerolease Group entities to unwind long-standing business relationships in a manner that allows all parties to flourish in the future, while tenants and users receive the same exceptional service they have experienced for generations.” 

AVweb has asked for comment from Castagna, other members of EAGLE and others associated with the effort to replace 100LL with an unleaded fuel.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. Yes, we can tell that you do not like lawyers. How original. If you had a dispute with someone and you could not resolve it yourself, would you need a lawyer? Go ahead. Try a “do it yourself!”

    • I don’t care for bottom feeding, ambulance chasers either. There is a reason general aviation airplanes are costing nearly a million dollars apiece now. Incompetent pilots, flying a 50-year-old airplane into the ground, and lawyers suing the manufacturers claiming it was faulty.

      • Mike, I am with you. I read, a few years ago, that the US had 4% of the world’s population and 44% of the world’s lawyers. Among this group there will be some good guys who will see that Justice is done. The rest are interested only in a career and money. Justice is only a collateral if they happen to cause it. They are beneath contempt.

    • You are wrong – I do not dislike lawyers at all. My late wife, whom I loved dearly, was a lawyer and some of my best friends are lawyers. My point was that from the volume of the paperwork, some lawyers spent a massive amount of time, which in this case is all billable. There are plenty of “good guy (and gal)” lawyers in this country, who work hard to see that justice is done. I have no idea whether or not this defendant deserves to be wrung through the civil court system, but when it is all said and done, we will see. But however it comes out, all of the lawyers involved will have had steady employment for quite a while.

  2. The complaint filed is pretty serious but not surprising as many in Long Beach have known for years about the conflicts of interest/corruption Castagna has entangled himself in. Many are hoping he’ll do the right thing and step down from NATA/Eagle positions. When you have your hands in to many pots it’s not a good look I suspect there will be a lot more to come!

  3. If the complaint is accurate, this guy seems self-serving and little else. What’s he getting out of EAGLE I wonder?

  4. The EAGLE program itself is an embarrassment and not producing real change. I’m still waiting for one press release from Lycoming or Continental regarding a new dash-number engine that has lower compression and adaptability to an existing certified airframe. TEL is not a requirement in aviation, it is currently a crutch that allows these two companies to avoid the bureaucracy of administrative approval. To make matters worse, the laziness of Cirrus/AVIC as an airframer, and the availability of TEL has allowed them avoid putting their own diesel engine in their own aircraft for years. And, yes, the current state of tort vulnerability in our country certainly plays into this.

  5. In all of the world, besides Lycoming and Continental, can you name one other engine manufacturing company that requires an anti-knock index of 100? We can’t say it has anything to do with altitude, either. There are plenty of vehicles that run fine at high altitude (with turbocharging) without that requirement.

  6. The first question in my mind is, what took so long? VNY is my home and I am all to familiar with Castagna. Watching him lead our VNAA meetings is such a disappoint as I try to read between the lines of the select narrative he drives in attempt to decipher truth. He’s used our funds for what some find predominately satisfy his own whims and vendettas under the guise of representing the tenants. Truth is we’re only provided scarce details of his actions, if anything at all. If we’re not discussing or voting on actions then, how is that representative of the membership? I’ve never been provided copies of meeting minutes. We have not been provided copy of the Part 13 complaint he’s filed with the FAA because the City called for a new airport plan. A plan that I actually agree tenants would benefit from because the management is not ideal and lease negotiations a nightmare. And I would bet the farm that the complaint was used to whine about the rejection of his development project at VNY. My experience is if Castagna is involved in something, it’s for his own financial benefit or boost in ego and influence. Wonder how long it will be before Bonseph Holdings protects their interests and severs ties too. Might be time to dump that baggage so the company can soar higher.