Matt Shidler – Chief Flight Instructor, CFI, CFII, MEI, CSIP
Matt has been a flight instructor for the past 8 years and flying for over 12. In 2009 he graduated from Indiana State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Aviation Flight Technology.
Matt has logged 5000 flight hours of which over 3500 are instruction given. Matt is a CSIP (Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot) and is qualified in both Perspective and Avidyne avionics. He also has experience as a corporate pilot flying throughout the United States and Canada in several different aircraft including the Pilatus PC-12, Cessna 441, and Piaggio P180 Avantii. Matt enjoys passing the knowledge and experience that he has gained on to his students and seeing them succeed.
Sam Cooper – Assistant Chief Flight Instructor, CFI, CFII, MEI, TCI
Cooper was born and raised in the mountainous terrain of the small town of Sunriver, Oregon. Pilot, violinist, and tennis player, Cooper does it all. After a career installing cable television, Cooper decided to get into aviation to soar to greater heights. Now he works to share the joy of flying with his students by teaching them how to be safe and responsible pilots. While he has too many hobbies to count, he has been known to enjoy weight lifting, knitting, cooking, spending time with his wife and cats, and rolling tide.
Brian Browning – CFI, AGI
My passion for teaching and aviation was passed down from my parents. After a 30 year career in software sales, I figured it was time to go do what I love the most; flying and teaching. My passion is helping those who dream of becoming a pilot to attain the confidence and skills to realize their dream. A great day for me is watching a student have that epiphany where they realize that becoming a pilot is within their grasp. My other passions, that take a second seat to aviation of course, are soccer, guitar, and quotable B-movies.
Orlando Ruiz – CFI, CFII, MEI, TCI
From the humble beginnings of Mexico Orlando Ruiz and his family moved to the USA to fulfill the American Dream. He graduated from the University of Texas Austin with a Degree in physics. He is fulfilling his destiny of becoming a pilot while helping other students along the way. He likes being outdoors, dancing, cooking, and spending time with his family.
Jesse Lebate – CFI, CFII, TCI
Jesse took his first discovery flight when he was 19 years old. After volunteering for his local fire department for a year and a half, he decided that aviation was his true calling. Since receiving his Private Pilot’s license at the age of 21, he has been flying ever since. He has two college degrees, a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M, and an associate’s degree from Central Texas College. He enjoys the outdoors, shooting, and reading. He believes that flying is an art and loves teaching others.
Austin Thorne – CFI, CFII, TCI
Austin is a third generation flight instructor and aviation enthusiast from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s in central California. After 6 years as a Quality Inspection technician in the space and defense industry, Austin was encouraged by his wife to pursue his passion of aviation and eventually share his love for flying and lifetime of aviation experience with his students. When he is not flying, Austin enjoys camping, hiking, craft beer, and spending time with his wife and dogs. Austin’s aviation goals include one day building his own airplane, and racing gliders in different places around the world.
Matt Koscielniak – CFI, CFII
Matt grew up in Lakeland, Florida and can trace his passion for aviation back to high school watching the airplanes fly overhead at the SUN N’ FUN expo. After graduating from college, Matt spent a year traveling to nearly 40 different countries which rekindled his desire to pursue a career in aviation. He moved to Austin 2019 and completed his CFI and CFII in order to share his passion for flight with others. Matt enjoys working with students as they fulfill their dreams of exploring the skies. When he isn’t at the airport, Matt can be found rock-climbing on the greenbelt, swimming in a local river, or enjoying some of the city’s live music.
Nate Fine- CFI, CFII, MEI
Nate grew up in Sacramento, California and has lived all over the country. His passion for aviation was sparked when he visited the Capital Airshow and saw the Thunderbirds fly. The freedom they seemed to have was incredible and he thought this would be a great career for him. Over his years of flight instruction, he has helped many aviators achieve their dreams. In his down time he enjoys learning new skills, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with his wife and children, fur children that is. He has a bachelor’s degree in General Sciences and always takes time to learn something new.