meet  our team

At Ignite Flight, 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


Bill started Ignite Flight 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 Ignite Flight in 2006 by opening a flight training center. Located at the Lincoln Municipal Airport (KLNK) in Lincoln, NE, Ignite Flight 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 Ignite Flight 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 Ignite Flight.

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

Rich Bates

Chief Certified Flight Instructor


Rich came to Lincoln from the Pacific Northwest where he previously served as a lecturer, flight instructor, and eventually as the chief instructor in a collegiate aviation department.  The allure of a smaller, innovative, and relationship focused flight school is what drew him to Ignite Flight.


A Gold Seal instructor who has taught instrument, multiengine, and CFI Rich now enjoys mentoring and coaching young flight instructors so they can better teach their students.

Rich, his wife, and two kids used to enjoy the mountains and forests of the PNW, but now in Nebraska are open to suggestions for new activities.

Jacob Wilson

Assistant chief 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 Ignite Flight.

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.

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 Ignite Flight on a part-time basis, and hopes to promote aviation to all interested future aviators.

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.



apply todaY to join our team!

Interested in a career at Ignite Flight? 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!

Matt Berringer

Certified Flight Instructor

Matt is originally from Wheaton, IL. His love for aviation started when he traveled on an airliner for a family vacation. He began his training in high school and earned his Private Pilot License.

After graduating from high school Matt started college at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln studying Political Science, as well as continuing training at Ignite Flight. He would complete his Instrument, Commercial, and CFI with Ignite Flight.

When he’s not flying, Matt enjoys playing volleyball, working out, and hanging out with friends.


Dennis churchin

Certified Flight Instructor

Dennis is from Springfield, VA. He graduated from James Madison University studying mathematic and biology. His love for aviation comes from his grandfather who served as a helicopter pilot for the marines. He decided to pursue his passion for aviation and moved to Daytona Beach, FL to start training and complete his CFI and CFII. 

Dennis has a pet cat, Pixie. He likes hiking, kayaking and scuba diving in his free time.

Hunter Hoscheit

Certified Flight Instructor

Hunter grew up in Caledonia, Minnesota where he played football for a state championship team. After graduation from Caledonia he attended Winona State on a Football Scholarship and continued his football career. While attending Winona Hunter obtained his Private Pilot Certificate. Upon Graduation of Winona he attended ATP flight school in Daytona Beach Florida, and earned his CFI, CFII, MEI.

Hunter is excited to share his love for aviation and help the next generation of aviators.




Juliana Yaacoub

Certified Flight Instructor


Juliana grew up around the Chicago area where she played soccer, cross country, and track in school. She became interested in aviation when flying international to Europe and the Middle East to see family members. In college she decided to become a pilot because of her love for traveling and flying. She went to Lewis University where she did her flight training and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Flight Management with a minor in Aviation Dispatch.
Juliana is interested in gaining more pilot certificates in helicopters and seaplanes, and would like to end up flying in the airlines.
Juliana likes to spend her time being athletic, enjoys all types of traveling, and likes to study different subjects.



Alix beatty

customer experience manager

Alix joined Ignite Flight 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

CFI/media coordinator

Ever since the young age of 4, Kyle has always wanted to be a pilot. At the age of 17, he made dreams become reality and earned his Private Pilot Certificate. Kyle has worked his way up in aviation and now has his CFI. Kyle originally joined the Ignite Flight family in September 2018 cleaning airplanes. Now you can find him teaching others to become pilots as well as run our 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 banana costume at the Husker Football games. 



sam simoneau

administrative assistant

Sam joins us from a small town in Kansas where she grew up near Wichita, the capital of aviation. Coming from a family full of military pilots, it was no surprise that she would want to follow in their footsteps. After graduating from the University of Nebraska with a degree in Nutrition, Exercise and Health Sciences, Sam aspires to finish the remainder of her ratings and eventually become a professional pilot.  


Sam loves spending her time at the airport making relationships with other fellow aviation enthusiasts and taking Chuck, her Cessna 150, to grass strips and on long cross countries to see her family.  


apply todaY to join our team!

Interested in a career at Ignite Flight? 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!

Brian Althouse

Flight Training Support

Originally from San Gabriel, California, Brian attends the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, studying Political Science and Economics. He has always had an interest in aviation, and began his flight training at Ignite Flight in 2020. He has since received his private pilot certificate and instrument rating and seeks to pursue a career in aviation, wherever that may take him.

In addition to flying, Brian enjoys playing sports, going on hikes, and spending time with friends and family.


sarah heckathorn


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

In addition to working at Ignite Flight, 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 Ignite Flight, 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.

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.

take the Next Step

Request Information

Contact us for more information and receive a friendly, prompt response.

Create Your Plan

Let us help you create a personalized plan for your pilot career.

Enroll Now

Ready to start your flight training? Complete our enrollment application.

Become a skilled pilot. Excel as a leader.

Request more information

Start a conversation


CALL: (402) 475-8400

Ignite flight - Copyright 2022 - Design by Artillery