Stick & Rudder Aviation was founded in 2008, with the focus to provide the Kitfox PILOT Community the opportunity to train in the specific aircraft one builds or buys – in the Canyons and Mountains of Idaho & Oregon.
Stick & Rudder Aviation’s on-going success is, due largely to, our close working relationship and support of the the Kitfox Pilot Community Team Kitfox  and the Kitfox Aircraft Factory.
Our unique & unconventional flight training programs are tailored to the each Pilot’s goals – yet emphasizing the lost art of seat-of-the-pants flying – returning to the low & slow flight training skills of the past – and putting the FUN back into flight training.
Our flight training offers the common sense “Type” training to prepare a Kitfox Pilot (builder or owner) for 1st flight, and subsequent 40 hours of “Phase 1” test flights.  Additionally (immediately following Type training) we offer the Advanced training in the environment the Kitfox Aircraft was specifically designed for:  The Backcountry – with our Multi-day, overnight in Wilderness Lodges – “Backcountry Training Tours
Please come…Experience the Difference


Paul Leadabrand is the founder, corporate managing member and chief flight instructor of Stick & Rudder Aviation.  Paul grew up with flying parents in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and has made a career as a pilot. While his diverse background spans Mountaineer, Search & Rescue instructor, Paramedic, Fire-fighter, Forest Ranger, Para-professional Archaeologist, Law Enforcement officer and White Water Raft guide…he has always been a pilot.

The majority of Paul’s 19,000 hour, 45 year flying career has been in the on-demand charter and corporate segment of general aviation.  His career has included everything from captaining light-jets around the world, to flying air ambulance on dark & stormy nights, to ferrying single-engine aircraft across the Atlantic, to flying llamas and ice-cream into the remote airstrips in the mountain canyons of Idaho. Paul confidently brings the “barnstorming-like” joy of flying back into flight instruction with his safe, common-sense, practical approach.



Both Kitfoxes in our flight school are factory-built with Glass cockpits, Airframes Alaska “Airstreak” tires, T-3 Tailwheel suspension, and all Kitfox Aircraft build options.


  • (New for 2021) STi (STOL inspired) – Rotax 915is with single-lever MT C/S prop – 141 HP (turbo/injected) – Garmin G3 avionics suite w/ auto pilot – Monster shock gear – 29” tires – VG’s
  • (Coming in Spring 2023) Series 7 Super Sport (Standard wing) – Rotax 915is (141 HP) Turbo/Injected with manual-controlled MT C/S prop – All Garmin dual-glass panel (Auto Pilot) – Meets TAA requirements for Commercial license training



Have you had a past profession outside of aviation? If so, what? Climbing guide in Washington, Alaska, Colorado, Ecuador and Argentina
What was your past schooling emphasis or degree in (prior to aviation)?  Architecture and Music at Virginia Tech
Where have you lived in your life? Grew up in a Military family moving every few years all over the country
Where are you most at home? Literally or figuratively.  Southwest Appalachia and the Pacific Northwest
How and/or why did you get started in aviation?  Hanging out in the hanger waiting for flyable weather into the Alaska Range, the pilots and climbers got to talking about similarities in our experiences. The pilots were interested on how we managed risk on the mountain and as climbers, we all wondered how they made decisions when flying among the mountains. We all thought the pilots were just the coolest and became good friends fast. One of the old timers put the idea in my head that I should give it a shot, and here I am 6 years later.
What kind of airplane did you learn to fly in?  Kitfox
Where did you learn how to fly? Stick & Rudder Aviation
Why do you enjoy flying the Kitfox?  It is an absolute pleasure to fly.
It demands the best performance out of me in order to unlock it’s full potential
What hobbies outside of aviation do you have a passion for?  Climbing, Fly Fishing
If you could go anywhere in any aircraft, where would you go and what would you fly? DeHaviland Otter at the South Pole


Have you had a past profession outside of aviation?  If so, what?  I sold motorcycles while in college, other than that aviation has been my profession.
What was your past schooling emphasis or degree in (prior to aviation)?  I have a Bachelors of Science in Aviation Businesses Administration
Where have you lived in your life?  Southern California and Idaho. Fun fact, I used to lived in a hangar on an airport for 5 years.
Where are you most at home? Literally or figuratively.  I spend a lot of time on the road, so literally at home. But I’ve always felt like I should have been in Idaho.
How and/or why did you get started in aviation?  My dad was a corporate pilot for over 40 years and I grew up at the airport around the various flight departments he managed. So I’ve always been around airplanes and had an interest in aviation.
What kind of airplane did you learn to fly in?  A Beech Travelair and a Cessna 152.
Where did you learn how to fly?  I soloed out of Oreland, CA in the summer of 1999. I finished up all my other ratings between CMA, VNY, WHP, & SZP in Southern California.
Why do you enjoy flying the Kitfox?  Low, slow & getting the tires dirty.
What do you enjoy about being a flight instructor?  Teaching and getting the opportunity to transfer the aviation knowledge I’ve received to others.
What hobbies outside of aviation do you have a passion for?  Motorcycles, shooting sports, mountain biking, camping, hunting, fishing, exploring, I take my amateur photography pretty seriously. Really anything that gets me outdoors.
Favorite aviation memory:  There’s a few… One was when my dad let me sit left seat and hand fly his Lockheed Jetstar. Another is flying my Barnstorming airshow routine in a Great Lakes low-level for the first time for Wayne Handley at Delano for my ACE Card Evaluation.
If you could go anywhere in any aircraft, where would you go and what would you fly?  Depends on the airplane… If it’s aerobatic, I wouldn’t need to go far as long as at least half my time was spent upside-down. In something like the Kitfox, a week of exploring the backcountry of ID, OR, NV & CA and camping would be nice.
If you could change the world in regards to aviation, what would you change?  Can you make an impact?  To keep flying fun.  I do my best. 


Our Emmett Municipal Airport location in Idaho is easy to get to from anywhere in the world. All the major airlines provide service to nearby Boise Airport.  There are a vast array of accommodations, restaurants and activities for your co-pilot to enjoy throughout the Treasure Valley area.  See our Trip Planning Guide for recommendations.

Stick & Rudder Aviation operates year-round (winter weather permitting) with the surrounding Treasure Valley being in the rain shadow of the most severe Pacific Northwest storms.  Our moderate, 4 equal seasons offers more blue-sky flying days than not.  Idaho’s 75+ un-paved backcountry airstrips are typically clear of snow April through November.


“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.”

Leonardo da Vinci