Our Instructors

 

Gary Elliott

gary-flyingGary Elliott graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and served 20 years, mostly as a fighter pilot. After retiring, he and his wife Stacie trained with New Tribes Mission (NTM) for 2 years, then served 8 years in the Philippines. Gary provided flight service for church-planting missionaries in remote jungle and mountain areas, operating a Cessna 180 and 185 from short, steep, narrow grass airstrips on the sides of mountains and in river valleys. Although not an A&P mechanic, he had lots of hands-on experience inspecting and maintaining the aircraft, working under the supervision of NTM Aviation’s Chief Mechanic in the Philippines.

While on furlough in 2001-2002, he taught in Central Washington University’s Flight Technology Program, providing classroom instruction in subjects varying from private pilot ground school and meteorology to advanced aircraft systems. He joined MATA as Chief Flight Instructor in September 2006. Gary has over 6,500 hours total time, over 3,500 hours of instructor pilot time, and holds CFI and CFII ratings in single-engine and multi-engine airplanes.

Dary Finck

Dary CFIIDary grew up in Senegal, Africa, as a missionary kid. He returned to the United States in 2000 after completing high school, and started attending MATA in 2001. By 2005, he had earned his commercial and instrument tickets,  as well as his Airframe and Powerplant licenses at the local Everett Community College, and a Senegalese pilot’s license. In August 2005, he entered the army as a Cavalry Scout, being assigned to the 82nd Airborne division’s paratrooper reconnaissance unit, 5/73rd Recon.  After a tour of seven months in Iraq during 2006 and 2007, he was seriously wounded when insurgents ambushed his night patrol.  His wife, Anna, and he were married just three weeks after being wounded, with the ceremony in the chapel of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. After 14 surgeries and over 3 years of recovery, the FAA reinstated his medical certificate and allowed him to continue flying and working on airplanes. Dary and Anna were also able to adopt their little bundle of joy, Kinza, in 2010.   Dary earned his CFI  in March 2016.  He served as of Asst. Chief of Maintenance at MATA for several years and recently was named Executive Director by the Board.  Dary has flown two summers at Kako Retreat Center in Alaska. His vision is to see MATA grow, equipping others to fly for the glory of the Lord.

 

Allen Koopman

Allen is an anesthetist at a local hospital. He taught private and instrument ground school at MATA.  He has flown from Arlington, Washington to Kako Retreat Center near Russian Mission, Alaska on three occasions, which has given him some mountain and cross-country flying experience, as well as experience handling international border crossings. He has trained both private pilot and instrument students.. He holds ATP and CFII and MEL Rating.

Allen became a Christian during his first year of high school. He has been a part of “The Navigators” ministry for many years on college campuses and in community ministry doing evangelism and followup/disciplemaking. He served on the missions committee at his local church and has taken numerous short-term mission trips to Central America, the Middle East, and Africa.

Kevin Andringa

KevinKevin currently serves as a part-time instructor, assisting Gary and Allen as needed. He holds CFII, MEI, and ATP certificates. Kevin has worked as a pilot in the airline industry since 1999, flying Dash 8′s and 737′s.  Before entering the airline industry, he worked for two years as a flight instructor and charter pilot at Tacoma Narrows Airport.  After a fifteen-year hiatus from flight instruction, Kevin has enjoyed returning to his small airplane roots. Kevin grew up in Marysville and attended Arlington Christian School. He received a degree in Flight Technology from Central Washington University. Kevin and his wife Stephanie currently live in Lake Stevens.

Benjamin Bookman

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Benjamin is a Certified Instrument Flight Instructor (CFII) and is currently serving as an intern with MATA helping train missionary pilots to serve our Lord in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the remotest parts of the world.

Vic Santie

Vic recently retired from Alaska Airlines after a twenty five year career.  As part of his aviation background he, along with his wife Susan of thirty seven years, served with Mission Aviation Fellowship in Irian Jaya from 1985-1989. He was introduced to the ministry of MAF while attending classes at BIOLA College. During his time with MAF he flew into remote mission stations as support for the missionaries from several different organizations.  His flying involved landing on steep, narrow airstrips in high altitude mountainous terrain; he also was responsible to support areas in low lying swamps and jungle environments.   When he wasn’t flying he used his administrative skills as the base manager in Wamena, which was one of the largest MAF bases worldwide. During his thirty eight year aviation career he has flown over 23,000 hours in various aircraft which includes almost 2,500 hours as a flight instructor.  He has an ATP rating along with: CFI-I-MEI, SES and A&P certificates.