Tropicbird Flight Service was created to provide local residents and visitors with top quality flight training.

Our instructors and mechanics are professionals with many years of experience and are long-term residents of the islands. At Tropicbird Flight Service, we love what we do and consider it a privilege to live and fly here. Whether you are pursuing a career in aviation or just want the challenge of earning your wings, this is an awesome place to do it and great people to do it with.

Our instructors are dedicated FAA Certified Flight Instructors with many years of teaching experience and are familiar with every aspect of island flying.

Mike Lauro

(Chief Flight Instructor)

Eric Herrle

(Certified Flight Instructor)

Mitchell Foley

(Certified Flight Instructor)

Terry Way

(Certified Flight Instructor)

Mike Lauro

Chief Instructor Pilot, Mike Lauro is a 40-year veteran pilot. The last 20 of these years were spent full time flight instructing with over 8000 hours flight instruction given. Mike was awarded the FAA designated Flight Instructor of the Year for Hawaii in 1999 and again in 2012. He has been an island resident for 25 years with 7 years as a commercial tour pilot in Hawaii. Mike has honorably served our country for 12 years as a U.S. Air Force Captain.

Eric Herrle

Eric started his flying in Pittsfield Mass. In 1975 and has been at it ever since. He holds ATP Single & Multi-Engine Land & Sea plane ratings along with CFI, CFII & MEI instructor certificates. Eric has been an island resident on & off since 1988 and full time here since 2010. He has over 35 years ATC and corporate flying experience. We are very pleased to have Eric aboard with the Tropicbird Team!

Mitchell Foley

Mitchell Foley is a longtime Big Island, Hawaii resident, living and commuting from the windward Hilo side of the island. Mitch started as a student at Tropicbird where he earned his private pilot, instrument rating, and commercial pilot certificates; and most recently, his CFI certificate.
Mitch has been flying throughout Hawaii for the past 4 years and knows the islands and their unique challenges to pilots very well! He is very sharp, personable and dedicated to the cause of excellence in flight training!

We are proud to have Mitch on board as the most recent member of our Tropicbird team!

Terry Way

Terry Way has been flying in Hawaii for over ten years. Terry originally received training for his private pilot from Mike Lauro at Tropicbird, and is now an Airline Transport Pilot and Master CFI with over 1000 hours of dual instruction given. Master CFIs have reached the highest level of instructional activity, educational experience, and professional service to the flight-training community—the true masters of aviation instruction. Terry is also a Cessna factory trained instructor – a CFAI. In addition to his teaching duties, he also flies for a local Hawaiian Airline ( Ohana ) and is a mission pilot and check pilot with the Civil Air Patrol. You will definitely enjoy flying with Terry. Besides being a highly qualified instructor, he is a very personable and friendly guy to know!