Sierra Skyport teaches students to fly |

Sierra Skyport teaches students to fly

by Caryn Haller
Rodney Aiglstorfer is the owner of Sierra Skyport located at the Minden-Tahoe Airport.
Jim Grant | The Record-Courier

Two months after getting his pilot’s license, Rodney Aiglstorfer opened his own flight school.

Sierra Skyport offers Cirrus-certified instruction, rentals and charters.

“We’re the only people I’m aware of in a 800-mile range that do this with Cirrus,” Aiglstorfer said. “This is not your grandfather’s airplane. It’s a luxury sports car inside. If you have any choice in the matter, this is how you want to fly.”

After selling his mobile banking software company in the Bay Area, Aiglstorfer and his wife, Emma, moved to Carson Valley and transformed two hangars at the Minden-Tahoe Airport into Sierra Skyport.

“We have a lot of people who moved here from California and still want to be able to get back and forth,” Aiglstorfer said. “Being able to break out of your small ecosystem gives you a bigger life. The things you can experience and see, there’s nothing else like it.”

Aiglstorfer hired pilot Patrick Padilla from Bridgeport to teach the classes and give the students flight time.

“Being able to fly somewhere is indescribable. There’s no roads, you get from point to point. It’s a pretty fun way to travel.”

Five students have enrolled in Sierra Skyport since its opening in October.

“I wanted to design a flight school that makes it easy to pass your test,” Aiglstorfer said. “We’re about tailoring the experience to the individual. We let the students learn at their own pace.”

His youngest student is a 16-year-old who recently completed his first solo flight.

“He wants to get his pilot’s license before his driver’s license,” Aiglstorfer said. “Anybody can fly. All it requires is desire.”

To get a pilot’s license, students must pass a written and practical exam. They also must log 40 hours of flight time.

Aiglstorfer said he chose to use Cirrus planes because of how safe they are.

“It’s pretty amazing I’ll have to say,” he added. “There’s no place you can fly in an aircraft as safe as this.”

Cirruses are designed with stall-resistant wings, a flight into known ice system and a ballistic parachute system which slowly lowers the entire aircraft to the ground in an upright position.

“They survive in this when there would be no other way to,” Aiglstorfer said.

For more information, visit or call 775-309-4423.