Flight Instructors

Meet Our Amazing Team

Nate Ruedy

Type Rating: CL65, EMB500, ERJ170/190, B737

On his 12th birthday, Nate went for his first small airplane ride in a Cessna 185 and he’s been hooked ever since.  Nate graduated from the University of North Dakota with a BS in Aeronautics.  He has acquired over 9,000 hours in several different aircraft types, including 4 jet type ratings.  While flying for the airlines is a great career, his true passion lies in small airplanes.  He hasn’t missed Oshkosh for 15 years running (except in 2020) and has been flight instructing at what is now Lake Elmo Aero for over 15 years.  When he’s not planning Lake Elmo Aero’s next fly-in/fly-out adventure or monthly forum, you can find him in a red and white Decathlon, usually upside down.

Keith Smith

CFI, CFII, FAA Gold Seal,
Platinum CSIP, MEI, ATP

After many years in sales, Keith switched careers to aviation in 2003.  In 2009 he took his first full time aviation job as a Cessna Flight School Manager in Utah.  Shortly after that he was hired by the Flight Operations department of Cirrus Aircraft.  After about one year he was put on a team to manage the Cirrus Flight Training Network.  During his time with Cirrus he had the privilege of working with just about every Cirrus Training Center in the world accumulating over 2,500 hours in Cirrus aircraft.  He now flys a Pilatus PC-12 full time with North Central Aviation.  When he’s not out flying , he and his wife Jennifer love to snow ski, paraglide, and enjoy wildlife photography.

Ben Arnal

Type Rating: B747

Ben grew up in Afton, MN. He did most of his flight training at the St. Cloud airport through the aviation program.  After achieving a B.S. in Aviation Operations at St Cloud State University, he continued his aviation career with an internship at Centennial Airport, Denver, CO, in Airport Operations. From there he was hired at the Northwest Airlines Aircrew training center as an instructor in the 747 from 2007 to 2009.  He continued his education with an MBA from Bellevue University in Nebraska.  In addition to being a flight instructor, Ben also manages Global Airfreight contracts for 3M.

Eric Olson

CFI, CFII, AGI, IGI, Cirrus TCI, FAA Gold Seal

After watching Top Gun for the 600th time, Eric decided it was time to pursue a career in aviation. Eric has been inspiring aviators at Lake Elmo Aero since the company’s early days. He has spent over 2,000 hours in the sky and has helped over 30 pilots earn their wings. He is a proud graduate of the prestigious University of Minnesota Duluth, and he later completed his flight training in the Twin Cities.

Jon Adsit


Once Jon finally realized that his chances of becoming a World War 2 fighter pilot in the year 2013 was pretty much slim to none; he decided that maybe flying a small Cessna would have to do. Jon grew up right next door to Lake Elmo in Oakdale MN. His father was a private pilot that flew into the late 1980s and fostered Jon’s interest in aviation by taking him to air shows, building model aircraft and teaching early stick and rudder skills. Jon attended Academy College in 2013 and earned his Associates degree in the commercial pilot program. Jon graduated summa cum laude in 2016 and immediately began his career as a pilot thereafter. Jon brings ample experience to Lake Elmo Aero with over 2000 total flight hours and has provided more than 1200 hours of instruction to his students.

Mark G


Mark Gallagher is a lifelong St. Paul native.  His love for aviation started when he took his first flight lesson at the Lake Elmo Airport and has been instructing for over 14 years.  He has over 10,000 hours of flight instruction and has flown just about every plane at the Lake Elmo Airport.  Mark’s enthusiasm for flight instruction is on display every time you see him in our lobby.  In addition to his love for flying Mark is also an avid sports fan (read: Vikings fan), so get ready for game day celebrations when he is around.  He also has a great passion for music, so make sure to ask him about when he was at Paisley Park back in 1991.

Molly Erickson


Molly is a Saint Paul native. She has done all of her flight training at Lake Elmo Aero. There are a few pilots in her family but she is the first to become a CFI. Her dad flew F4’s and F16’s in the Air Force and then spent 30+ years flying King Airs. Molly spent some time in Cambodia and Thailand, went to beauty school, and then ended up reviewing mortgages and title policies before finding her true passion in aviation. She aspires to be an inspiration for girls everywhere who want to fly. 

“You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life, and the procedure, the process is it’s own reward. “ – Amelia Earhart

Hans Gorowsky

CFI, Tail Wheel

Hans Gorowsky is from Lino Lakes, MN. After playing Division 1 Hockey and a short stint professionally he started his flying career and never looked back. He got his inspiration to fly from his grandfather Louie Farrell who instructed in everything from Fighters in the Marines to Boeing 757’s at Northwest Airlines. Hans earned his private pilot certificate at Lake Elmo in September of 2019 and has since gone on to get his Instrument, Commercial, Multi-Engine and Sea Plane ratings,as well as a tailwheel endorsement.

Tom Stehler

Type Rating: E170/E190/B737
A St. Paul area native, Tom attended Purdue University, where he acted as a corporate pilot and check instructor after graduation. He also founded Purdue’s winning team for the newly-formed collegiate class of the EAA’s AirVenture Cup Race in 2019.

Tom is now a First Officer on the Boeing 737 for Sun Country Airlines, and has experience in a multitude of different single and multi-engine aircraft, with over 1000 hours of flight instruction. 

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