Stick & Rudder Aviation was founded in 2008 with the mission to provide a unique opportunity to train in the canyons and mountains of Idaho in a well-respected, high-performance tailwheel aircraft. Stick & Rudder Aviation’s on-going success is due largely in part to it’s close working relationship and support of the aircraft manufacturer Kitfox Aircraft LLC. Our flight training programs are tailor-made to the individual’s dreams and goals. Flight training may be obtained for as simple as a biennual flight review to a tailwheel endorsement and on to pilot licensing; culminating with our advanced training specialty of Backcountry Training Tours.
PAUL LEADABRAND, FOUNDER & CHIEF FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR
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.
3 TAILWHEEL KITFOXES AVAILABLE:
All three 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.
- Series 7 Super Sport – Rotax 912isSport (fuel injected) – 115 HP Big Bore kit – with AirMaster constant speed prop – Advanced Flight Systems screen
- (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 (meets TAA for commercial licenses) – Monster shock gear – 29” tires – VG’s
- (Coming in 2021) Series 7 Super Sport – Rotax 914 (115 HP Turbo-charged) with AirMaster prop – All Garmin panel
GET TO KNOW OUR FLIGHT INSTRUCTORS
LEON DAVIS, CFI
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
CADE PALMER, CFI
Have you had a past profession outside of aviation? If so, what? I did a few years in the Idaho Air Guard as an ejection seat mechanic before starting work in the paragliding industry instructing, offering tandem flights, and working as a test pilot for Ozone Paragliders.
What was your past schooling emphasis or degree in (prior to aviation)? I started out in criminal justice before seeing the light and changing to professional aviation.
Where have you lived in your life? I have been lucky enough to live some amazing places. Seasonal paragliding work made travel almost mandatory. I have lived 10 summers in Jackson Hole, WY and it has taken me all over the world in the winters. New Zealand, Nepal, Europe, Africa and Central America to name a few.
Where are you most at home? Literally or figuratively. In the mountains.
Do you have family locally? Do you have kids? Pets? My parents live in Emmett, ID right on the way into the backcountry. It’s fun to land in their backyard. My spouse, Becca, and I have a dog named Tala that loves to fly, both paragliders and planes.
How and/or why did you get started in aviation? My father was a fighter pilot and I grew up around planes, when he retired he bought into a plane to teach my brothers and I to fly.
What kind of airplane did you learn to fly in? A Cessna 172
Where did you learn how to fly? I started in Nampa, ID and did most of it there, but some of my training was in Jackson, WY and even in New Zealand.
Why do you enjoy flying the Kitfox? The fun factor for sure! They are quick and agile, the view with the clear doors and overhead is unbeatable, it makes going into and out of short strips a breeze, and it hardly burns any fuel, so staying up an extra hour or two doesn’t hurt the wallet.
What do you enjoy about being a flight instructor? I have always enjoyed sharing flight, it’s a great feeling to introduce people to a whole new dimension of experiencing the world. And its very rewarding to help people through a challenging commitment like learning how to fly.
What hobbies outside of aviation do you have a passion for? I like to ski, mountain bike, getting out on rivers either with a raft or a paddle board. I like being outside, especially in the wilderness, places that make me feel small.
Favorite aviation memory: Climbing and then paragliding off a 13,000ft active volcano in Guatemala with a great group of friends and then watching an eruption from the air over the top of the clouds on the way down.
If you could go anywhere in any aircraft, where would you go and what would you fly? Hard to pick just one, flying my kitfox to Alaska is high on my list right now, Iceland is a dream as well.
If you could change the world in regards to aviation, what would you change? Can you make an impact? I would like to make flying more accessible to anybody who wants to try but doesn’t have the means. I would also like to see the aviation industry become less fossil fuel dependent. It is an exciting time for electric motors and battery technology and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
DARIN MOODY, CFI
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.
ALEX SLINGELAND, CFI
Have you had a past profession outside of aviation? If so, what? Most of my career I’ve spent working as an electrical engineer.
What was your past schooling emphasis or degree in (prior to aviation)? I studied electrical engineering in Michigan and California.
Where are you most at home? Literally or figuratively. I am most at home somewhere between the mountains and the sea so the “west is best“ for me.
Do you have kids? Pets? I am married and have two children and two birds.
What kind of airplane did you learn to fly in? I started out in a Cessna 152 and have since flown over 40 different type of aircraft.
Where did you learn how to fly? I learned to fly at Montgomery Field in San Diego.
Why do you enjoy flying the Kitfox? I enjoy flying the Kitfox because of the aircraft’s amazing versatility. The airplane can handle everything from off airport landings in the Idaho backcountry to crossing the continent with a passenger and a full load of luggage.
What do you enjoy about being a flight instructor? I find it immensely rewarding to be able to help someone fulfill their dreams of being able to fly – whether it is getting a primary student to solo or an advanced student to hone their skills to go to the next level. What I enjoy the most though is the students. I learn something new from each and every student I get to fly with.
What hobbies outside of aviation do you have a passion for? Outside of aviation, my other passion is for watersports, particularly surfing and windsurfing.
If you could go anywhere in any aircraft, where would you go and what would you fly? My dream is to circumnavigate Earth in a Kitfox.
Our Greenleaf Air Ranch location in Greenleaf, 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.
CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTABLE MAP & DIRECTIONS TO OUR GREENLEAF, ID LOCATION.
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
― Leonardo da Vinci