Local Flight Instructors

One thing every pilot needs is a flight instructor. Even after you get your pilot liscence you will still need a good instructor for bi-annual reviews and for adding new skill levels and ratings. Here are some of the instructor we see all the time in the Racine area.

PictureGreg Patchel ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI

I first began my aviation career at the age of 16, while flying gliders in the Civil Air Patrol as a cadet. Flying gliders taught me to be through, disciplined, and safe, since you only get one chance to land a glider. Since then I have gone on to volunteer as a check pilot for the Civil Air Patrol in many of their aircraft.
My responsibility is to ensure that their pilots meet C.A.P. and F.A.A. standards.
Currently, I instructs at Gateway Technical College, teaching students at the college level.
Many of these students then acquire some of the advanced ratings required for airline pilots.

I have over 2000 hours of experience working with students age 16 to 67 in both single and multi-engine aircraft.
Some of my previous students are working for the airlines, while others are at the Air Force Academy or other colleges.

Flying is my passion and I'm always happy to share that passion with others.
In 2016, I was  one of two Wisconsin flight instructors recognized as being among the top flight instructors in the country by the AOPA.

Whether you just want to be a Sunday flyer, or have career aspirations; contact me and we can discuss your goals and how best to attain them. 

"The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn't it be? —it is the same the angels breathe."

— Mark Twain

PictureDave Finstad CFI-AI MEI AGI

I have 40 years of general aviation experience starting from my first light lesson on my 16th birthday. On my 17th birthday I passed my private pilot check ride. Fast forward to 1987-88, when I added my Commercial pilot Single/Multi-engine land with Instrument privileges. Then in 1992 I acquired my Flight Instructor Certificates Single & Multi-engine land, along with an Advance Instrument Ground Instructor's endorsement. Recently I obtained my Instrument Flight Instructor add-on rating for single and multi engine.

As for flying hours and experiences, I have just under 5,000 accident and incident free hours. I have been retained and referred by many aircraft owners and operators over the years. Most of my students and clients have come to me via referrals. I have been entrusted with the safety and the future airmanship training of many husbands, wives, sons, and daughters. Nothing has thrilled me more than to see a young person advance from being land locked to seeing them acquire the necessary and the orderly skills to solo and become a licensed pilot. Many of my students have gone on to the airlines, military or other aviation related careers. I'm privileged to say that I have flown over and around most of Central and North America, all in single and multi-engine reciprocating engines.
Matt BorgardtMatthew Borgardt CFI CFII MEI 

I graduated from St. Cloud State University in 2006 with a degree in Aviation Operations and Anthropology.  I began flight instructing for St. Cloud State University in 2007 and became Chief Flight Instructor for the Aviation department in 2008.  I am also a Multi-engine instructor and an Instrument instructor.  To date I have over 1200 hours of flight instructing time as well as experience in Cessna Citations and Beech King Airs.

I have trained students for everything from preparation for an airline career to purely recreational pilots while maintaining a perfect safety record.  I choose to instruct because I enjoy sharing my love of flying with people who are seeking the freedom and excitement that comes with soaring thousands of feet above the ground.  Feel free to contact me with any questions or to start your personal adventure.


Larry Stys CFI-AI CPL


I love to fly. It is a great experience each and every time I leave the ground! I have been a pilot since July 20, 1969, the same day Neil and Buzz walked on the Moon. Civil Air Patrol gave me my pilot license then and I continue to give back to CAP. I have flown nearly 200 Search and Rescue missions and taught more than 50 young cadets to solo at various CAP flight academies (see picture. I’m the old guy in the middle). I teach at the Young Aviators program here at Racine. I retired from public teaching; hold a master’s degree in education; and free lance as a CFI. I travel about the United States now presenting seminars on investigations and inspections for the CAP.

I am an accident and incident free 4000 hour commercial pilot, a certified flight instructor (CFI) in single-engine and instrument flight and serve as a CAP Check Pilot Examiner. My experience is in private, commercial, and instrument single engine instruction. I am trained as a “glass cockpit” instructor in advanced avionics systems like the Garmin G-1000 found in many newer airplanes today. I give flight reviews and instrument proficiency checks.

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Flying is not Nintendo. You don't push a button and start over.

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