Our Instructors

Mike Thomas • Club Manager and Chief Instructor

After earning his Private Pilot Certificate and instrument rating, Mike joined the club to pursue his commercial, CFI: Airplane and Instrument certificates. He shares his experience and wit with students on a full-time basis. Mike manages East Hill and is the FAA 141 Chief Instructor for all courses and check-outs. He flies stage checks with students in the Private, Instrument and Commercial courses. He teaches in all the planes, day and night. He occasionally escapes the club to ride his exotic racing bicycle or sail his yacht on Cayuga Lake. 

We have many other highly-qualified instructors assisting Mike with the flight training duties. With the training records maintained by the instructors and communication among the instructors, students are encouraged to utilize any of the available instructors to meet their schedule, without fear of wasting valuable time. Variety in viewpoint combined with a structured syllabus produces a stronger, independent pilot rather than a "clone."

Pete Daiuto is a former Air Force Weapons Officer on the B-1B, originally from New Jersey and a graduate of Syracuse University. After 8 years of service, he decided it was more fun to be a pilot, instead of telling pilots where to go. He finished his private pilot license in Rapid City, SD, and received his Instrument through Multi-Engine Instrument Instructor certificates at Airline Transport Professionals in Denver, CO. Pete is a full-time instructor teaching VFR and IFR in our Cessnas. Pete is working towards an airline career.

Eric Hummel is a native of Muncie, Indiana. He became a Private Pilot in 1986 at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C., while serving in the United States Army Band. Eric is a graduate of the University of Iowa, and has been a public school music teacher for 17 years. He holds Single- and Multi-Engine ratings, and since 2001 has completed Commercial, Instrument, and CFI training at EHFC. During the week Eric spends his time hanging around at Lansing High School, where he is locally recognized as the evil "Band Director." He is currently instructing VFR on weekends and holidays in our Cessnas and Mooney.

Tom Parker got his glider rating after graduating from Earlham College in 1972 and joined EHFC in 1983 where he added his Private, Commercial, Instrument and CFI tickets. He's been an EHFC member, CFI, and/or plane-owner member ever since. Tom is an author and illustrator and an IT project manager at Cornell University. He has written and illustrated Rules of Thumb volumes 1 and 2, In One Day and Never Trust a Calm Dog. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Audubon, National Wildlife, Glamour, and The Whole Earth Catalog and he is currently an (occasional) contributing writer for MAKE Magazine. Tom is currently teaching at the private pilot level in Cessnas.

Ryan Quigley joined East Hill after earning his private at Binghamton Airport in 2008. After completing his instrument, commercial and CFI at East Hill, Ryan is ready to share his excitement for flying with pilots at all levels. He is currently teaching VFR in our Cessnas. For his day job, Ryan is a Fire Service Instructor at the NYS Fire Academy in Montour Falls. His other interests involve riding his motorcyle (been to Mexico on that beast) and gardening.

Zac Randazzo is back on staff after teaching at East Hill many years ago. He is a staff CFI available teaching VFR and mostly seen around the club on Mondays and Tuesdays. You will appreciate his humor and broad experience.

David Wanagel took his first flying lesson at East Hill in the fall of 1984. After a few years of flying as a private pilot, he decided to pursue other ratings, finally earning his CFI in 1991. David instructed at East Hill for two and a half years before deciding to move to Seattle in the winter of 1993. He returned to Ithaca in the summer of 2008 and recently got reminded by a friend (an East Hill member) how much he missed flying. After some hard work, he reinstated his CFI certificate. David is currently juggling a full time job as a software engineer with trying to fit in as much flying time as possible. David is instructing day VFR and IFR in our Cessnas.

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