meet  our team

At Performance Aircraft, we come to work everyday ready to change the lives of our customers. We believe that there is no better way to do so then to build strong relationships and lead each other well.

We follow four simple core values:

Do everything with integrity // Innovate & improve // Provide knowledge that’s valuable // Apply truth & grace

our mission IS ALL ABOUT YOURS

 

Our Conviction

We were created with a love for people and a passion to serve.

 

Our Mission

To inspire and enable aviation dreams –
one relationship, one aircraft, and one flight at a time.

 

Because we love people and believe in aviation’s power to enrich and transform lives, we invest in helping people successfully integrate aviation into their lives so that they can realize the freedom, opportunity, beauty, adventure, community, and achievement that aviation brings.

Bill Heckathorn

President/Founder

Bill started Performance Aircraft in 2004 after gaining experience as a flight instructor, FBO manager, and new and used aircraft sales representative. His company vision was to leverage the power of internet and technology to improve the customer experience, and his original slogan read, “Selling aircraft through integrity, innovation, and knowledge.”

Given his background in the industry, Bill understands the ins and outs of aircraft ownership, positioning and marketing aircraft, and working with overseas buyers. He offers special insight into the late model Cessna and Cirrus markets, and he really enjoys helping first time aircraft owners understand and enjoy aircraft ownership.

With a vision to enable others to enjoy the benefits of flight through top quality, safety first pilot training, Bill expanded Performance Aircraft in 2006 by opening a flight training center. Located at the Lincoln Municipal Airport (KLNK) in Lincoln, NE, Performance Aircraft offers professional flight training, aircraft rental, and the Performance Pilot Club.

Bill and his wife Sarah have three girls, Molly, Jenna, and Jacie. In addition to aviation, Bill enjoys fishing, boating, and serving in his church.

Eric Hartwell

admissions / project manager

Eric’s journey with Performance Aircraft began as a customer back in 2008. He started flight training in a Cessna 172SP Skyhawk during his senior year of high school at Lincoln East and completed his private pilot certificate that July. In February 2011, Eric started an internship at Performance, which grew into a part time position.

In 2012 Eric became the flight training manager and then in 2020 moved into managing admissions and projects. Eric helps others understand the advantages of learning to fly at Performance Aircraft. 

In his free time, Eric enjoys spending time with his wife Lauren, their cat Winnie, disc golfing, trap shooting, and (of course) flying.

Travis ammon

Certified Flight Instructor

 

Travis grew up on a ranch in north central Nebraska and attended high school in Bassett, Nebraska. After graduation, he enlisted in the US Navy and served 4 years on board the USS Essex in Sasebo, Japan as an Aviation Boatswain’s Mate.

After his discharge, he received his associates degree through Northeast community college in Norfolk, Nebraska and transferred to the University of Nebraska at Omaha to start his flying career. After 3 semesters, he finished his ratings with ATP and completed the Bachelors of Science degree online through Utah Valley University.

His flying career started in Nebraska and has taken him to Philadelphia, Chicago and now resides back in Blair with his wife, children, and two yellow labs.

When not flying Travis enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, hiking, hunting, working out, and anything outdoors.

Jacob Wilson

Certified Flight Instructor

In 1974, attending Oklahoma State University, Jacob’s interest in aviation took off. Now after 45 years in industry and counting, Jacob has been a Flight Instructor, Charter Pilot, Corporate Pilot, worked for over 5 different airlines, and so much more. Finally Jacob spent 23 years as an aviation safety inspector. Flew everything from small pistons to a Boeing 737.

Today Jacob is still the director of operations for the Missionary Aviation Foundation’s part 135 certificate. Still wanting to be active in the air, we are proud to have Jacob as a CFI at Performance Aircraft.

Outside of aviation Jacob’s life is just as busy. Married, Jacob has 3 adult children all still close to home. He even helps his wife with show horses. Jacob is also the President of Fellowship and Haiti’s Children’s Hope Org.

tHIS COULD BE YOU

apply todaY to join our team!

Interested in a career at Performance Aircraft? We would still love to get to know you and learn about your experience and skills.

We’re growing quickly, and we could have a position for you. Tell us about your dream job and let us know what makes you good at it!

Greg love

Certified Flight Instructor

Aviation has been an enjoyable and challenging career for Greg since 1967. Flying allowed him to complete a bachelor’s and master’s degree. He has been fortunate to fly airliners and military aircraft, and has an ATP (Airline Transport Pilot Certificate).

Greg is a gold seal flight instructor who is certified to teach instrument (CFII) and multi-engine (MEI) ratings.  He is also an advanced ground instructor (AGI).

He enjoys working with students at Performance Aircraft on a part-time basis, and hopes to promote aviation to all interested future aviators.

ethan wagner

Certified Flight Instructor/cirrus training center instructor (tci)

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Ethan joins us from the nearby town of Wahoo, NE. Upon graduating high school, he enlisted in the Navy where he spent five years on active duty as a Hospital Corpsman. After getting out in 2015, he enrolled in the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s flight training program for a year before deciding to transfer to an identical program at the University of Central Missouri. He will graduate very soon with a degree in aviation with a concentration in professional pilot once he completes his multi-engine add-on.

In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and family, as well as golfing and traveling.

SAm Condello

Certified Flight Instructor/cirrus training center instructor (tci)

Sam is from Lincoln, Nebraska where he has lived for most of his life. Throughout his life he played multiple sports at Pius X High School and Nebraska Wesleyan University. At Nebraska Wesleyan, he received his Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration. While pursuing his business degree he was inspired by a family member who has always been in the aviation industry and after taking a discovery flight he knew this was the career path for him.

He received his private pilots license here in Nebraska before attending flight school in one of the busiest Class B airspaces located in Phoenix, Arizona. Through his time in Arizona he received the rest of his ratings including his CFI, CFII, and MEI. Safety always comes first when he is in the airplane with anyone.

When he is not flying, you can find Sam doing something active, hanging out at the lake, or spending some quality time with his dog.

andrew heithoff

Certified Flight Instructor

Andrew is from small town Elgin, NE where he spent most of his time working with livestock and agriculture. After graduating high school, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Finance from Wayne State College. While attending WSC, Andrew embarked on a study abroad trip to Europe where his passion for aviation developed.

The next step of his journey began at the University of Nebraska-Kearney where he received his Private Pilot Certificate while working as a line technician at Kearney Regional Airport. Eager to further his aviation knowledge and experience, he came here to Performance Aircraft to finish his instrument, commercial, CFI, and CFII.

During his free time, Andrew enjoys golfing, traveling, camping, and spending time with friends and family.

Elijah smith

Certified Flight Instructor

Elijah grew up in Seward, Nebraska, but his love for aviation began in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, when his grandpa took him to the world’s largest airshow. After graduating from Seward High School, he began his private pilot training at Performance Aircraft. He then continued his training at Lewis University in Chicago, earning a bachelors degree in Aviation Flight Management.

At Lewis, Elijah had the opportunity to train in a professional community setting, and on weekends, he and his friends enjoyed taking night flights over Navy Pier. When COVID moved Elijah back home, he finished his flight training at Performance Aircraft, earning his CFI and CFII before graduating from Lewis in December.

When he’s not flying, Elijah enjoys playing basketball, golfing, hunting, and fishing.

Taylor Wilson

Certified Flight Instructor

Taylor grew up in small town Imperial, Nebraska. While in high school he discovered aviation while attending a ground school session with his dad who was a student pilot at the time. After ground school and a discovery flight he was hooked on aviation and knew he wanted to make a career out of it. Taylor continued training at Performance Aircraft, while working towards an agribusiness degree at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

Taylor likes to spend his free time flying his 1950 taildragger and wakes-surfing with his family back home.

Henry Berning

Certified Flight Instructor

Henry grew up in St. Michael, Minnesota and spent much of his childhood playing sports and spending time hunting and fishing. His love for aviation started with building remote controlled airplanes and then eventually wondered what it would look like to be inside the airplane rather than below it. Henry then went to Grand Forks, ND to pursue a degree in Commercial Aviation. He is a graduate of the University of North Dakota John D. Odegard school of Aerospace Sciences where he earned his Flight Certificates and a minor in Atmospheric Sciences.

Henry is excited to share aviation with his students and loves to show people the opportunities available in Aviation.

When not flying Henry is an avid hunter and fisherman, workout enthusiast, and loves to spend time with friends and family.

 

Alix christensen

customer experience manager

Alix joined Performance Aircraft as an administrative assistant in 2018 to help us better serve our customers. She loves human interaction and customer service, and she exhibits impressive skills when it comes to scheduling flights and ensuring our customers stay on track to achieve their goals.

Alix enjoys spending time with family and friends, fishing, golfing, competing in just about any sport, and spending time outdoors with her dogs.

kyle soto

flight Operations/media coordinator

Kyle grew up right next to the Lincoln Airport. Ever since the young age of 4, Kyle has always wanted to be a pilot. Making dreams become reality, he got his private pilot’s certificate in July of 2020. He now holds a commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating.

Kyle originally joined the Performance Aircraft family in September 2018. You can find him helping to run flight operations, behind the camera, and posting on social media.

Outside of his busy work and flying schedule, Kyle is a freshman at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, majoring in Advertising and Public Relations with a minor in Communication Studies. He also has a heart for missions and works closely with The Hope Venture. Combining missions and aviation, Kyle’s career goal is to become a missionary pilot, flying oversees, and help those in need.

For leisure, Kyle loves photography, working out, and spending time out in nature. You can also catch Kyle in a corn or banana costume at the Husker Football games.

john horner

Administrative assistant

John is originally from Weatherford, TX and grew up in Otoe, NE. John was inspired in aviation at a young age by his grandfather who owned and operated a flight school after WWII in Georgia.

John served 4 years on active duty in the United States Marine Corps with the 2nd Battalion 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division from 2007 – 2011. After leaving the military he owned and operated a home remodeling company.

John started his career flight training program with Performance Aircraft and will be continuing through the courses as he joins the team to assist operations. John has 2 children, Eveyln and Nora. In his free time he enjoys cycling, hunting, and is a long-range shooting enthusiast. 

sarah heckathorn

controller

Sarah has been responsible for the company’s accounting since Performance Aircraft was founded in 2004.

In addition to working at Performance Aircraft, Sarah has also been a registered nurse since 2001, serving as labor and delivery nurse for over 10 years.

Whether she is taking care of a patient, communicating with a customer, or assisting with financial decisions for Performance Aircraft, Sarah brings a deep commitment to ensuring every individual receives an outstanding level of care.

Since marrying Bill in 1998, Sarah has grown to avidly enjoy flying and aviation. Recently, Sarah and Bill took their three daughters (Molly, Jenna, and Jacie) in one of their aircraft for a fun family getaway to Branson, Missouri.

Outside of work, Sarah enjoys reading, volunteering at school, and spending time with family.

Olivia Hughes

Flight Operations support

 

Olivia has been traveling since she was only a few months old and has always been interested in aviation. At just 14 years old, Olivia started taking flying lessons and her passion was ignited.

Since starting lessons in 2018 at Performance, Olivia has successfully soloed when she was 16, then earned her Private Pilot’s License not long after she turned 17. She’s done all of her training in the Cirrus, and she is currently working on her instrument rating. 

Olivia comes to us from the nearby town of Seward and is a junior at Seward High. She plans to earn all of her ratings before she graduates. Olivia also has a love for meteorology and that is what she plans on studying in college. 

Outside of school and her flying lessons, Olivia is a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol where she is a member of the Omaha Composite Squadron. She gets to teach aerospace lessons as the Aerospace Education NCO. 

Olivia enjoys playing with her miniature poodle, Peaches, going to the beach, and advocating for more women in aviation.

joe Zabawa

flight operations support

Joe is from Lincoln, Nebraska where he has lived his whole life. He is currently a Junior at Lincoln Southeast High School and is involved in track, cross country, and other clubs. His interest in aviation was sparked when he was little traveling on commercial flights and watching all the planes fly over his house. However, he didn’t always know he wanted to pursue aviation as a career until recently. He plans to start his flight training at Performance soon. 

 

In his free time, Joe enjoys: spending time with his friends and family, traveling, and playing golf, basketball, or almost any other sport.

 

joey heckathorn

team mascot

 

Hi, I am Joey Heckathorn. I am a dog. In this short time on earth, I have learned I really like a tug of war. I often win because I am smol but mighty. My legs are very short and I can’t climb over things well. However, it does not stop me from trying. 
Flying is fun and I like to watch the planes. No one will let me outside though because they are scared I will run towards the planes. 
You can find me behind the front desk. I will most likely be sleeping, eating, or playing with Alix.

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