Airport Spotlight on Dave Klopfleisch

Airport Spotlight on Dave K

Celebrating more than 40 years as a flight instructor and 30 of those at Chicago Executive Flight School, Dave Klopfleisch has helped hundreds of students learn the art of flying, from hobbyists to those pursuing professional careers. 

Klopfleisch’s aviation career began in the 1960s where he earned his pilot license while in high school. 

“I have always loved aviation, it felt like a natural fit for me,” Klopefleisch said. 

Prior to becoming a flight instructor, Klopfleisch served in the Navy and flew in the TA-4 single engine attack jet. He was an aviation electrician’s mate for two years of active duty before moving to the Reserves. After leaving the Navy, he became an auto mechanic. He competed as a racecar driver in the 1980s, then became a crew chief for a team in the Daytona 24-Hour Race. 

While he enjoyed his time working with racing cars, he found his way back to aviation. Klopfleisch holds numerous certifications as a flight instructor, including a CFI (certified flight instructor), MEI (multiengine flight instructor) and is a Part 121 flight dispatcher.

Klopfleisch works 5-6 days a week as a flight instructor at CEFS, averaging 20 students per month. He has taught everyone from neurosurgeons to homemakers, along with many who used flight school to begin their career in the Navy.

His most memorable student was a young woman who was beginning to lose her eyesight from an eye disease. Before losing her sight completely she wanted to achieve a life goal to learn how to fly. Klopfleisch worked with her for three lessons, and during her final lesson she successfully landed a plane on the runway.

“It was a really wonderful moment to be part of, she was so incredibly happy and proud to safely fly and land a plane,” he said. 

For his dedication and experience in aviation, Klopfleisch was awarded the “Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award” in 2022 to mark 50 years of safe flying.

“The most rewarding part of my career has been using my experience to teach future pilots how to not only fly a plane, but how to fly safely,” he said. 

Klopfleisch has been married to his wife Sonya for more than 40 years. They have two children, Jim and Sara, and one grandson, Silas.