Jan Rustad, Pilot Instructor
Known as “The Yoda of Mountain Flying,” Rustad had an accomplished career at HNZ Topflight — previously the Canadian Helicopters School of Advanced Training — where he served in a series of leadership roles including as chief flight instructor and manager of business development. Rustad pioneered the school’s mountain flying program, which attracted hundreds of helicopter pilots annually from around the world. Under Rustad’s direction, the School of Advanced Training underwent a $5M expansion in 2012 and rebranded as HNZ Topflight.
A longtime resident of Penticton, British Columbia, Rustad was born in Vancouver, Canada, in 1946. He obtained his pilot’s license in 1968 and joined Canadian Helicopters in 1977. Rustad logged over 19,000 flight hours in his nearly 40 years at the flight academy. He was the recipient of the Helicopter Association International’s Outstanding Certified Flight Instructor award in 2001, as well as of awards from the Penticton business community and the Canadian military.
Jan Rustad, a renowned pilot instructor, passed away in November 2021 at the age of 75.