Performance News

Performance Aircraft Celebrates 12 Years in Business

September 2, 2016

12 years Performance Aircraft

It All Began in a Basement

It has officially been 12 years since Owner/Founder Bill Heckathorn started his own company called Performance Aircraft Sales in the basement of his home in Omaha, NE.

Having worked at another company selling new and used Cessna aircraft, Bill wanted to try out a few of his own ideas to improve the buying and selling experience.

A Little History…

Growing up on a farm in South Dakota, Bill learned at a young age to operate and maintain large equipment—all while learning the value of hard work.

Always incredibly enamored with aviation as a child, Bill spent much of his free time in high school building and flying model aircraft. After attending college for a year, Bill returned to farming and married his sweetheart, Sarah, before deciding to finally fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a pilot.

Once he had earned his pilot’s license, Bill became a flight instructor at a college in Brookings, South Dakota. Shortly after, he moved on to manage the FBO in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Bill provided leadership and direction for everything from the flight school to the aircraft rental, pilot services, and aircraft maintenance services.

Bill continued to teach aviation as well. As his experience and knowledge of the aircraft industry grew, so did his love for aviation. More than anything, Bill enjoyed sharing this captivating world with others and enabling them to experience the freedom, achievement, and beauty that comes with flight.


Performance Aircraft’s first company slogan was
“Selling Aircraft through Integrity, Innovation, and Knowledge.” 

The first year in businessFirst Year Success

During his first year of business, Bill sold 23 aircraft out of his basement while implementing his ideas and increasing his knowledge of the aircraft market. He started collecting and tracking aircraft market data and soon had a database from which he could pull additional market details not readily available to other brokers.

Opening a Flight Training Center

In 2006, Bill decided to move his office to Lincoln, NE and also open a Cessna Pilot Center. Desiring to minister to the local community and fulfill a need in the area, Bill focused on growing the flight training center, adding aircraft and flight instructors who could help promote and teach aviation locally.

Growth in Aircraft Sales and Flight Training

Throughout its history, Performance Aircraft has continued to add innovative services and recruit talented individuals to assist with aircraft sales and flight training. From expanding its extensive market research to creating some of the most informative and attractive aircraft listings in the industry, the company has remained at the forefront of innovation and service year after year.

Now employing a team of experts that includes experienced aircraft consultants, marketing/advertising specialists, market research experts, aircraft relocation and delivery agents, professional aircraft photographers, and administrative personel, Performance Aircraft has become one of the most successful aircraft sales companies in North America, selling a variety of high quality owner flown piston aircraft. The company’s Flight Training Center is one of the largest in the Midwest, employing a fleet of modern aircraft and a team of full-time flight instructors.

With record sales each year since 2010, Performance Aircraft has laid groundwork for continued growth in the coming years—all while remaining focused on fulfilling its original promise of “selling aircraft through integrity, innovation, and knowledge.”




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What satisfied customers are saying...

  • I trusted the team at Performance Aircraft to help me identify an airplane that fit my mission, budget, and goals.  I'm happy to say that they exceeded all my expectations by keeping me informed throughout every step of the process.  You can trust that this team is not out to sell you an airplane but to be a lifelong aviation partner.  I would definitely use them again for selling or buying an aircraft.  Thank you!
    – Eric Leatherman, Nebraska
  • As a first time buyer, I was nervous about the entire process–plane selection, negotiations, paperwork, and closing. After my first contact with Stacey at Performance Aircraft, I knew they were the right fit to help me. She quickly made me feel at ease with everything. Their website is positively the best and most comprehensive in its class.  The process was smooth and the plane was exactly as it was represented. I couldn't be happier!
    – Dennis Cooley, Florida
  • Your team did exactly what you said you would do, which is a very rare trait in today's business world. I would recommend you guys have integrity.
    – Tony Wagner, Florida
  • I purchased an airplane from Performance Aircraft a few years ago and have also utilized some of their Flight Training Services since that time. I have developed a respect for their professional expertise in both their Training and Sales side of their business.
    – Mike Kelly, Nebraska
  • Because of your professional team and alliances with other top companies, you will be my first call when looking to purchase another airplane. Thank you again.
    – Tom Saxon, Florida
  • I would tell my friends they can trust Performance Aircraft to provide honest, ethical, and enthusiastic service. Bill found an aircraft that best suits our needs while staying well within our budget. The whole process was practically stress-free. And, the post-purchase training and follow-ups have been phenomenal.
    – Matt Young, Wyoming
  • Your communication here is very good and I really appreciated your honesty. Your follow up is awesome. Bill knew the value of airplanes as well as anyone I have met in the industry and I have been flying for over 30 years. You guys did a great job communicating with me throughout the process and kept the plane moving to closing. I was very pleased with everything.
    – Randy Christo, Nebraska
  • Performance Aircraft can help you achieve a life-time dream of becoming a pilot. You can go for it with confidence and know that you will receive great instruction as evidenced by many before you. Take time to look at the picture gallery in their office; you may even see some people you know that have already attained their private pilot license.
    – Donn Stoner, Nebraska
  • Their knowledge of the market allowed us to feel confident that they understood aircraft values. Additionally, the personality of the marketing team made this an easy decision that we would be treated well and communicated with frequently on their progress.
    – Skyhawk Flying Club, Nebraska
  • You guys did an excellent job. It was exactly what I needed and you did everything you said you would do. I would highly recommend your company. Additionally, I believe you added value to the process. Thanks for a job well done!
    – Dave Cochran, Minnesota
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