Please take a moment to view to this short ~2 min
introduction to how we pair you with instructors on our trips.
We take pride in connecting you with the perfect instructor to suit your needs. Over 20 years we have developed relationships with some of the industry's best independent CFI's. If you are bringing your own plane, we can make a connection to someone who has extensive experience in your make and model. We can't list everyone we know, but below are a few of our regulars ...
Jason Miller, CFII
Chief Flight Instructor
Jason Miller, host of The Finer Points - Aviation Podcast, has distributed more than 3 million flight training tips to pilots all over the world. He is an instructor for the FAA and AOPA's Air Safety Institute. He brings thousands of hours of experience and a clear and concise style to his teaching. He has led flying trips through the mountains of Colorado, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Washington.
Howard Donner, MD, CFI
Flight Instructor / Expedition Physician
Dr. Howard Donner has been featured in two NOVA documentaries, including "Deadly Ascent" which chronicles mountain medicine and research on 20,320-foot Denali (Mt. McKinley). He spent three climbing seasons as a rescue doctor for the National Park Service at the 14,000-foot medical/rescue station on Denali. Howard also served for five years as a medical operations consultant for NASA, where he was involved in the design of the Space Shuttle and International Space Station medical systems.
Justin Phillipson has been flying the Sierras for over 13 years and is no stranger to the challenging airports we have right in our backyard. Learning to fly in a tired 172 at Stead Field, Nevada taught him that density altitude and reduced performance is more than a whiteboard discussion. A few years later as an instructor in Chico he used all the foothill airports from Columbia to Lake Almanor and Quincy as great training airport for his students in his C-152. Owning a 85hp Cessna 120 and frequently taking it to the other side of the Sierras he stresses the importance of flying smart and without excessive power. Justin is an A&P and he builds and races his own formula one airplane in the Reno air races every year, and when he's not teaching he is a captain at JetSuiteX.
Adam is an FAA gold seal flight instructor who has been in love with aviation since he was a child. Adam comes from a family of accomplished aviators. He earned his Private Pilot Certificate in 2009 and in 2012 started pursuing aviation full time. He received his Commercial Pilot Certificate in 2012, Certified Flight Instructor Rating in 2013, and ATP in 2018. Now he no longer works a day in his life. Adam has conducted training from Yellowstone to Sedona and many points in between. When Adam is not flying in the mountains he flies for Compass Airlines.
Sarah Halas is an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP), multi-engine instrument flight instructor (MEII), and experienced backcountry ski guide. She has been awarded a Gold Seal by the Federal Aviation Administration for teaching flying to an exceptional level. Having flown for a charter service, air ambulance, and the membership airline Surf Air, Sarah returned to flight instructing full time in 2013. Her mountain flying courses are informed by years of exploring the mountains on land and in the air.
Geoff Rapoport is a CFII teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area and a pilot for SkyWest airlines. Before becoming a professional pilot, Geoff worked as a mechanical engineer building scientific instruments and as a lawyer for venture capital firms. His experience as an engineer and lawyer are critical to Geoff's unique approach to flight instruction, where he loves to get into the details of the physics and regulatory finer points of flying. Geoff is also a Skywest Airlines in his off time from the mountains.
Peter started flying gliders in the mid-1960s while attending high school in Switzerland and has continued to enjoy soaring, including in the Sierras, the Rockies, and the Southern Alps of New Zealand, ever since. He has over 20,000 hours and has worked as a test pilot for Burt Rutan and others, as a training program developer for FlightSafety International, as editor of Air Progress Magazine, as a Part 135 charter and Air Ambulance pilot, and as an international ferry and demonstration pilot. When he was young and immortal, he made over 50 ocean crossings, almost entirely in single engine airplanes. He and his wife live in Telluride, Colorado--airport elevation 9086 feet MSL--in the summer and in western Sonoma County, California, where he keeps his 1967 Navion Rangemaster, his 1985 Taifun motorglider, and his 1968 Diamant 18-meter sailplane, in the winter.
Miriam Macmillan is a full time CFII and Gold Seal flight instructor. She is part owner of Pacific Skies Aviation located at Torrance airport in Los Angeles. Miriam's diverse background includes over 20 years of teaching middle and high school math and science and setting records in excess of 240mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Her hobbies include Aerobatic flying and touring the Southern Sierras in her Turbo RG Cessna Skylane.
Willy is a local aviator who has been flying throughout the Sierra Nevada since age 17. His experience ranges from small experimental tailwheels up to high-performance singles such as the Beech Bonanza and Cessna 206. Piloting these aircraft, Willy has seen the entire Lower 48, although most of his flying knowledge has been gained in Northern California. He is a member of AOPA, EAA and volunteers with Young Eagles.
Eric earned his private pilot’s license in a 1946 Luscombe and shortly thereafter was accepted into military flight school at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. He flew UH-1H helicopters in the U.S. Army and used his G.I. Bill funding to earn a slew of fixed wing and instructor ratings. While in service he was a unit instructor for IFR operations as well as a CFI for the on-base flying club. He currently holds CFI, CFIM, CFII, CFIH ratings in addition to an ATP. After the military he flew Sikorsky S-61s in helicopter logging operations in Oregon, but decided that for future employment fixed wing was the way to go. After a brief stint in YS-11 turboprops he was fortunate enough to be hired by Hawaiian Airlines where he spent the next 28 years. He has logged time in DC-8, DC-10, Lockheed L-1011 and Boeing B-767 aircraft flying international routes. Since retiring he flight instructs out of Calaveras County airport in the Sierra Nevadas and spends as much time as possible flying his C-180 back and forth to Idaho and exploring grass strips.