Here is what a few of Ann’s students have to say about her.

Tim Bieber

I hired Ann this summer to help me with the transition from a Super Cub to a 1959 Cessna Skywagon. A long cross country trip is a good way to learn about new airplane, and having an instructor who knows the aircraft is a real plus. We picked up the plane in Bend Oregon, and flew it to Marquette Michigan, over five days. Ann is a not only great instructor, but also fun to travel with.

Her vast experience flying and instructing, primarily in tailwheel airplanes, is hard to find.
I learned more about flying tail dragers from her in five days then I had from all my other instruction combined.

If you are making the transition to any type of tailwheel aircraft, I highly recommend Ann.
Please feel free to call or write me, if you would like to hear more.

Alan Marcum


Ann Elsbach is one of the best CFIs I know–and I’ve flown with dozens over the past 25 years.

Ann cares about what her students learn. She doesn’t care about artificially adding ratings, she doesn’t care about building time, she’s not focusing on her career: she focuses on the needs of her students. This is an unusual trait among teachers; even more so among flight instructors.

Ann brings an unusual combination of perspective, experience, and serenity to her flight instructing. Because of her professional background prior to becoming a full-time flight instructor, she knows how to work with people, how to help people through their fears, how to coax them through learning blocks.

Because of her aviation background, she understands the nuances of flying especially tailwheel airplanes, airplanes with low wing loading, and airplanes with low power loading–all of which have unusual flight characteristics in some flight regimes. She understands large tailwheel biplane singles as well as those small, light airplanes, too.

Ann can help a tailwheel pilot hone his or her skills–especially cross-wind landings and takeoffs and precise pattern work. And, she can turn a dead-footed trike pilot who doesn’t appreciate adverse yaw or the need for coordinated turns into a pilot with live feet who knows not just how but when and why to keep that pesky ball centered.

Beyond just her flying, Ann exhibits an unsurpassed level of personal and professional integrity, and shares a joy of life and living that enhances a student’s experience.

Tom Pickett

PPASEL, Tailwheel Guy

I met Ann Elsbach on a warm, clear November day at Reid-Hillview Airport. I was a primary student, and she was my assigned instructor. Over the years since then I have benefited immensely from her instructional style, her grace under pressure (I have tried to kill her more than once in an airplane), and her patience. She is one of the few people in this world in whose hands I willingly place my life.

Her instruction laid the ground work for my learning to fly for many years after I achieved my private license, and I believe it has saved my life more than once. Ann teaches you to “Do what you have to do to land the airplane” to keep the flying safe and to accomplish the immediate goal. Her instruction in attitude flying and aircraft control allowed me to safely land a 1940 Taylorcraft BC after the engine quit on takeoff at 50 feet from a short runway (I put the nose down and slipped it to get down in a big hurry and rollout on the runway). Ann’s constant insistence on always knowing where you are going to put the airplane in an emergency, has served me well.

I remember learning a lesson with Ann in a Luscombe 8A when I was a student pilot on a short cross country flight. We had taken off from Davis airport on a hot summer day, bound for Napa airport across the coastal mountains from the Sacramento Valley. The airplane started to overheat, so we used ridge soaring techniques to get the airplane cooled down and to allow us to cross the mountains. Later the ridge soaring techniques that Ann taught me were what I needed to cross the Laramie Mountains of Wyoming when I was caught in Mt. St. Helen’s ash cloud in 1980. It swept down from the north unexpectedly (the FSS said the ash cloud was going north into Canada), and caught my wife and I crossing the mountains in a 1948 Stinson. Instantly we could not see the ground clearly (you could see for a couple of miles, but the horizon was completely indistinct) and I was able to navigate through the mountains using the ridge soaring techniques Ann had taught me to stay in contact with the ground safely.

It has been many years since that first flight and I believe that I am alive today because of the lessons Ann gave me. Now I find myself using Ann’s approach to instruction on my own students while teaching them Race Track Driving. Patience, an emphasis on safety and I tell every one of them “Do what you have to do to get the car safely through the corner.”

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