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.

Donn Stoner

Director of Admissions and Professional Development

Donn’s love for aviation started at age 9 when he enjoyed his first flight with a local aircraft owner. Since that day, the desire to be involved in aviation has never left him. Spending 4 years in the Navy as an air traffic controller fueled his adventures in aviation while serving stateside, as well as abroad with aircraft carrier operations at sea. After the Navy came a career with the FAA as a controller in Waterloo, Iowa; Lincoln, Nebraska; and the Chicago O’Hare airport. Working with all kinds of aircraft from military to commercial airliners to general aviation aircraft has caused great appreciation for the industry with its many different facets.

A dream was realized at age 50 when Donn obtained a private pilot certificate as well as an instrument rating through Performance Aircraft. In 2018, Donn joined Performance Aircraft as Director of Admissions and Professional Development with a passion to impact the aviation industry by leading alongside a team dedicated to make a difference in the lives of people. Increasing the pilot ranks to address the growing deficit of pilots in the US and Internationally seems a worthy pursuit in the years to come. Serving to impact the people on our team, the communities where we live, the industry we are in, and the world we are a part of, gives a framework for living with purpose.

Prior to joining the Performance team, Donn was the people resource director for an auto group that spanned 3 markets. While there, his responsibilities included creating a people-development culture with clear mission and cultural values. This occurred through leadership development of managers as well as the identification and development of emerging leaders. In short, working in a team-based environment while encouraging and growing people to their full potential is a life motive for Donn.

Donn enjoys spending time with his wife, Mary, and their family, which includes six grand-kids. Some of his favorite activities include archery hunting, woodworking, outdoor activities, driving anything John Deere, and of course, flying as often as possible.

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 May of 2012, Eric became the flight training manager. In this role, Eric helps others understand the advantages of learning to fly at Performance Aircraft. Eric enjoys coordinating events for the Performance Pilot Club including seminars, local tours, and social events. He is also the testing center supervisor for the PSI testing center on site.

In his free time, Eric enjoys spending time with family and friends, trap shooting, and (of course) flying.

Travis Ammon

Chief 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.

Greg Love

Certified Flight Instructor

$70.20/hr. club | $78/hr. walk-in 

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)

$70.20/hr. club | $78/hr. walk-in
Cirrus Instruction: $85.50/hr. club | $95/hr. walk-in

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.

Jesse Foster

Certified Flight Instructor

$70.20/hr. club | $78/hr. walk-in 

Jesse grew up in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he worked for a hot air balloon company as a crew chief. This work fed into his love for aviation and after high school, he decided to pursue his aviation career.

Jesse attended the University of North Dakota in 2016, where he began his Commercial Aviation major. After graduating in 2019 with his bachelors degree, he made the move to Lincoln, Nebraska to be part of the Performance Aircraft team. He looks forward to sharing his passion for aviation with those ready to fly.

In his free time, Jesse can be seen doing activities with his young Siberian husky or watching football.

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!

Austin Johnson

Certified Flight Instructor

$70.20/hr. club | $78/hr. walk-in

Austin grew up on a farm outside of Minden, Nebraska where he worked on his family farm of three generations. His aviation dream was inspired by watching the airline and spray planes fly over his home. After graduating high school he worked for the local aerial agricultural sprayer as the aircraft ground loader for a few summers.

Austin attended the University of Nebraska-Kearney majoring in Aviation Systems Management. There he obtained his pilot licenses, (Private, Instrument, Commercial, and CFI). Throughout college, Austin worked as an airport line technician for the FBO at the Kearney airport.

After completing his licenses and college degree, Austin decided he wanted to pursue the job of a certified flight instructor in Lincoln. He is excited to get his journey at Performance Aircraft started.

When not at work, Austin enjoys water skiing at the lake, playing pickleball, fishing, hunting, and spending time with family.

Patrick Needham

Certified Flight Instructor

$70.20/hr. club | $78/hr. walk-in

Patrick comes to us originally from Maine. He joined the Air Force in 1989 and retired as a Master Sargent in 2012. After he retired from the Air Force, he moved to Prescott Arizona, where he went to school at Yavapai College and completed all of his airplane ratings with an associate’s degree in applied science aviation.

His love for the Air Force and 24 years of service is where his passion for aviation spawns from. He enjoys instructing and watching his students grow within the profession.

In his free time, Patrick can be seen spending time with his wife and his two awesome dogs, Gunner and Sage.

SAm Condello

Certified Flight Instructor

$70.20/hr. club | $78/hr. walk-in

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.

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 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 training support assistant

At the young age of four years old, Kyle’s passion for aviation was ignited. On his first commercial flight to Baltimore, the start of the engines had him hooked. He loves the feeling of being in the air and is fascinated by the concept of flight. Kyle recently began training for his private pilot certificate right here at Performance Aircraft.

Kyle has been working hard towards achieving his goal of becoming a pilot. Wanting to better his education at Purdue University, he plans on pursuing a degree in both Professional Flight and Airport Operations. Kyle dreams of becoming a medevac pilot flying the PC-12NG. He wants to make a real difference in the lives of everyone he meets and believes that this is the best way to make that dream a reality.

Kyle is a junior at Lincoln North Star High School, where he plays baseball and is on the student council’s executive team. Also at North Star, he has done many things to promote aviation, having helped pave the way for an aviation program involving three new classes.

Outside of his busy schedule, Kyle loves spending time with family, hanging out with friends, going to Nebraska football games, and traveling.

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.

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EMAIL: fly@flyperformance.com

CALL: (402) 475-8400

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