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Get to Know Us

Centurion Aviation is the creation of David Finstad. The business is referral generated. Energy is spent mentoring students to help them achieve their goals. He began with a Cessna 150, an unheated hangar, and his car. Now, conveniently located between Milwaukee and Chicago at Racine's Batten International Airport provides: heated hangar, simulator, offices, and a comfortable training environment.

David Finstad
CFI, Founder

    With over 50 years of aviation experience, Dave Finstad had his first lesson on his 16th birthday, passed his private pilot check ride in 1969 on his 17th birthday. His interest grew. In 1988 Dave added instrument, and commercial pilot in both single and multi-engine land. To pass this love of aviation on to others, he added CFI in SEL and MEL and instrument ratings. He is also an advanced instrument ground instructor.

    With over 8,000 hours under his belt, many aircraft owners, operators, and former students refer Dave to others as the “go-to” CFI over these years. Because of this, referrals are the common method of gaining new students and clients interested in his expertise.  A singularly unique achievement milestone was reached in 2019: He received the prestigious FAA Wright Brothers “Master Pilot” Award for 50 years of accident, incident, and violation free flying. Many of Dave’s students have gone on to the major air-carriers, the US military or other aviation careers. 

    “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!”

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Larry Teaching
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Larry Stys
CFI, Associate

    Larry Stys has known and worked with Dave Finstad for years. This friendship grew in association with Centurion Aviation to provide quality flight training. In 2018, Larry became the recipient of the prestigious FAA Wright Brothers “Master Pilot” Award for 50 years of accident, incident, and violation free flying.  He became a CFI and instrument CFI SEL in 1984. He has over 5000 hours of flight time. Larry taught at over 30 solo/pre-solo flight scholarship academies throughout the Mid-West over the last 15 years. Dozens of former students have flown or fly now for the US military and major air-carriers.  As a Civil Air Patrol (CAP) member, he logged over 200 Air Force mission sorties ranging from search and rescue and natural disaster assistance, and homeland security. 

    “It is incredible to know that young students I once soloed or got them to pass their private pilot check ride now fly for the US Air Force defending our country!”

    Larry is a published aviation writer and has written articles for Mentor magazine (National Association of Flight Instructors) and Contrails magazine (AJ Publications) and the CAP. He has served as adjunct instructor in aviation sciences for Gateway Technical College, Kenosha. 

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