Professional Flight Training

Professional Flight Training For Aircraft Owner Pilots

As an aircraft owner, you want a different experience than what a flight school can provide.  That’s what Texas Top Aviation specializes in.  With five years under our belt of working with aircraft owners, we know that you aren’t a student; you are a client.  We strive to give our clients excellent, professional flight instruction.  We want your training experience to be highly educational, but fun too.  You should step out of the airplane with a smile on your face.  You may be tired, but we want you to be happy with your flight training experience!

Hank Gibson-Owner, TBM Instructor, Piper PA46 Instructor, Platinum CSIP (Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot), Columbia Instructor

Hank Gibson received his bachelor’s degree in Professional Flight from LeTourneau University.  After graduating, Hank went on to work as a flight instructor at Anson Air in Sugarland, TX. Later, he went back to LeTourneau University to give students the same excellent instruction he received as a student there.

After a year and a half of instructing at LeTourneau, Hank joined High Performance Aviation, where he became a CSIP (Cirrus Factory Instructor), and a CFAI+ (Cessna Factory Piston Engine Instructor).  During his time at High Performance Aviation, he logged 900 hours instructing in a variety of Technically Advanced Aircraft, specializing in Cirrus and Columbia aircraft.

In 2014, Hank started Texas Top Aviation in New Braunfels, TX with the goal of providing expert, personalized, owner/pilot instruction.

Hank also completed the American Bonanza Society ABS Instructor course in 2014, certifying him to instruct in Beechcraft aircraft.  After gaining knowledge of the Piper PA46 piston engine aircraft line (Malibu/Mirage/Matrix), Hank began giving insurance approved initial and recurrent training to PA46 owners in 2017.  In 2019, Hank received his initial training in the Piper Meridian and is now Insurance Approved to offer Initial and Recurrent training in the Meridian, JetProp, M500, and M600.

Now, with almost 9,000 hours of flight experience, Hank is qualified to fly and instruct most single engine aircraft.

Hank has been designated a Master CFI, served on the FAASTeam, and is currently a member of the Malibu & M-Class Owner’s and Pilot’s Association Safety Committee.

Hank continues his personal passion for learning all he can about aviation.  In 2017, he received his initial training in a Cessna 425 Conquest I.  In 2018, he received his Commercial Single Engine Seaplane rating, was designated a Cirrus Platinum CSIP (given to Cirrus instructors who have compiled over 2,000 hours in Cirrus Aircraft), and, in 2019, an MMOPA Master Aviator.  In 2021, he completed TBM Initial Training and now instructs in the TBM line of aircraft.

Hank’s professionalism, love of teaching and personalized approach have made him the go-to instructor for owner pilots all over Texas and the United States. His attention to detail and extensive knowledge of airplanes and the industry have earned him a great reputation as a consultant for the purchasing of personal airplanes.

Pedro Vargas-Lebron-CSIP (Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot)

Pedro’s love of flying started as a kid living on an Air Force Base. This passion grew as he got older and started flying the summer between his junior and senior years in high school, then grew even more when he enlisted in the Arizona Army National Guard as an AH-64 Helicopter Avionics & Electrical Repairer. Shortly after enlisting, he applied for the Army National Guard Warrant Officer Program to learn to fly the UH-60 Blackhawk.

After graduating in 2007, Pedro spent the next year supporting the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on the United States border during Operation Jump Start fly UH-60 Blackhawks. In 2008, Pedro was accepted to attend the Army’s fixed wing multi-engine course, where he become an Army King Air 200(C-12) pilot. A month after graduating, he was deployed to Iraq for 6 months in support of Joint Special Operations Command flying intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.

After returning from Iraq, Pedro and his family moved to Texas after accepting a job as a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot with the Texas Army National Guard. Shortly after, Pedro attended the Army helicopter Instructor Pilot course as well as the Army’s Instrument Examiner Course. This started his love for flight instruction, wherein he has over 1500 hours instructing.

With multiple deployments over a 10-year period with a Blackhawk MEDEVAC unit, Pedro moved back to flying the King Air again with the Army. In 2019, Pedro graduated the Army’s Multi-Engine Instructor Pilot’s course and currently serves with the Texas Army National Guard as a King Air 200 instructor while achieving the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4. With over 4600 hours of flight time between helicopters and airplanes as well as 18 years in military service, Pedro’s vast experience provides a unique perspective when instructing.

Pedro’s professionalism, flight experience, training military aviators over 15 years and his love for teaching as made him a sought out instructor in Texas. Pedro is a MEI/CFII/CFI-A/H as well as a Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot (CSIP).

Stephanie Mertz-Cirrus Instructor & Trip Coordinator

Stephanie graduated from LeTourneau University with a degree in Aeronautical Science and her commercial single and multi ratings. She started off her career in Ontario, CA flying a Pilatus PC-12 for charter and medical trips, where she gained valuable experience flying all over the States and Mexico. In 2013 she moved back to East Texas with her husband where she was a contract pilot flying a variety of Citations and a Falcon 10.

A few years later she became involved in her local Ninety-Nines chapter and joined their mentorship program. After earning her CFI, CFII, and MEI, she returned to her alma mater to teach new pilots. In 2018, she and her husband moved to Austin and she began teaching for Texas Top Aviation. When she isn’t teaching Cirrus pilots, she has 3 kids that keep her from getting bored.

Zac Armstrong-PA46 & TBM Instructor

Zac Armstrong is a tactical law enforcement veteran of more than 20 years with specialties in breaching and all facets of tactical operations.  He has received training and operated on the federal, state, and local levels with agencies like the US Department of Justice in all facets of law enforcement. 

Aviation has always been his passion and over the past 20 years he has concurrently developed a successful aviation brokerage company, started a Part 135 air charter company from scratch (including overwater Class II navigation certifications) that grew to operating more than 13 turbine aircraft. He has been a Chief Pilot, check airman in multiple airframes, specialized in turbine and turbojet transition training with multiple type ratings held, and enjoyed exercising his CFI/II/MEI in passing the torch to the next generation of aviators. 

In what little spare time he has, he can be found working on his family’s 120 year old farm with his wife and three boys along with being a mission pilot for the Commemorative Air Force. 

Casey McKee-Cirrus & Bonanza Instructor, Company Coordinator

Casey McKee had never dreamed of being a flight instructor, let alone a pilot. In fact, she was somewhat fearful of flight, particularly small airplanes. She grew up riding horses and competing in rodeo events. She graduated from Texas Tech University in 1994, then taught in the public school system for eight years. She retired as a teacher when she began working part time for her husband’s construction company as a bookkeeper and staying home with her two children.

In 2017, Casey was given the unexpected opportunity to take flying lessons. She was hooked almost immediately and has never looked back. Soon after receiving her private pilot’s certificate, she went on to pursue her instrument rating and commercial pilot’s certificate followed by CFI and CFII.

Although it came to her relatively late, Casey is thrilled to have found her niche with flight instruction and with Texas Top Aviation. She has a heart for teaching and is always working to learn more and to help other pilots achieve their goals. Casey owns and flies her own Bonanza F33A. She also instructs in the Cirrus SR22 and SR22T as well as the Cessna 172 and 182.

John Eshbaugh-Cirrus Instructor, TBM Instructor, & Columbia Instructor

John grew up in Northern New Jersey under Newark’s Airspace and directly next to Teterboro. With airplanes constantly flying overhead and a father who was an aviation enthusiast and private pilot, John was surrounded by aviation.

At the age of 12, he went for his first ride in a Cessna 150 Commuter and has been hooked ever since.

While training for his Private Pilot certificate in the late 1980s, he was captivated by how great his CFI was at motivating and teaching students. That instructional experience led John to a 37 year career in technology, training, digital education, instructional design, performance consulting and performance management.

In the early 1990s, John started his IFR training under the Washington Dulles airspace, but, before he could finish his instrument rating, took two long breaks from flying. However, the aviation bug never left!

In 2019, John stepped back into the cockpit and picked up training where he left off. John earned his Instrument rating, Commercial Certificate, CFI and CFII by 2021 and started instructing and flying as a professional contract pilot in Cirrus aircraft. He has also flown extensively in TBMs and as a co-pilot in the Citation CJ line.

In late 2023, John left the technology world behind. His passion for flying, education and technology have come full circle and John now teaches Cirrus, Columbia and TBM as part of the Texas Top team and flies TBMs and Cirrus professionally.

John lives in Hutto, Texas with his wife Debbie and their several cats. When he is not flying or instructing, he stays active with teaching others how to build and fly giant scale RC models while also keeping up with the latest trends in modern technology.

“The most important aspect of the service [Hank] provides is good communication. [Hank] did an excellent job of constantly communicating with me. Even when there was no real news to share, [he’d] still call periodically just to let me know what [he was] doing to gain exposure and who [he] had talked to along the way. I can’t tell you how much [his] good communication meant to me. That is the key element of good customer service, and [he] really [is] a great communicator.”  Randy VanStory, Lancair Super ES Sale, New Braunfels, TX

“I met Hank early 2015 on a recommendation from an ex-Cirrus factory pilot. I was a highly corroded rusty pilot looking for transition training to an SR20. Hank is a very good and patient teacher who adapted to my style of learning. Fast forward, Hank is now my instrument instructor. His company Texas Top Aviation LLC works around my schedule and constantly adjusts to my learning stages and needs. Last, Hank and his associates are just plain fun to be around!”  Stephen Pargeter, Cirrus SR20 Transition & Instrument Training, San Antonio, TX

“Hank was recommended to me by a student of his to help me buy an airplane.  I had recently received my private pilot license and was planning not only to purchase my own aircraft but also to move into instrument training using my own plane.  I can say without any reservation that the entire process of researching, deciding, shopping, negotiating and buying the plane was an enjoyable experience thanks to Hank. He is very skilled and has incredible experience and knowledge regarding many airplanes.  He knows the industry and the marketplace.  I have a lot of personal experience in buying and selling cars, boats, motorcycles and real estate, but I can say without question that I would not have been able to navigate the aircraft purchase process on my own.” Kevin Browne, Diamond DA40 Acquisition, San Antonio, TX

“I engaged Hank for my PA-46 transition training. I was coming from a Bonanza and had very limited experience with Pipers. Hank made the transition very enjoyable. His knowledge, training approach, and overall demeanor is fantastic.  I would highly recommend Hank for those looking for any type of advanced training. ” John Ordway, Piper PA46-310P Initial Training, Philadelphia, PA

“Hank was recommended to me for Cirrus transition training by the Cirrus fleet manager at Lift Aviation.  As a private pilot who had recently completed instrument training in a six-pack 172, Hank also had the job of transitioning my skills and workflows to the advanced avionics and powerful engine of the SR22T G5.  He is a very structured, methodical instructor who communicates very well.  I always knew what to expect and what to prepare for.  His instruction is clear and focused, and both the pre-flight and post-flight briefings ensure progress and understanding.  On top of that, he is a friendly and easy-going pilot who makes the process comfortable and enjoyable!”  Krista Miller, Cirrus SR22T G5 Initial Training, Austin, TX

“My son and I recently had the joy and pleasure to engage the professional services of Hank Gibson to educate, train and impart specifics relative to our recently purchase of a 2011 PA46. We connected immediately with Hank as he genuinely cares about you, your safety, proficiency and even your family- it wasn’t all business. His mutual desire to provide a well-structured, understandable, user-friendly experience tailored to our backgrounds, flight experience and learning style made this experience enjoyable. Stepping into glass with the G1000, I anticipated a challenge for this old steam-gauged Bonanza pilot. However, Hank provided excellent ground and flight instruction that allowed us both to grasp the curriculum, POH, technology and rigorous flight training segments. He was kind in his correction of bad habits and encouraging when competencies were met. I look forward to many more hours of learning, growing, sharing life and our passion of flying. We would recommend Hank to anyone for their transition training, continuation of their IFR professional development or safe flight operations. Onward and Upward!”  Rick Edwards, Piper PA46-350P Initial Training, Horseshoe Bay, TX

“Hank Gibson of Texas Top Aviation was recommended to me for initial training from the previous owner of the Piper Malibu Mirage that I recently purchased. Hank was approved with my insurance carrier and was easy to work with. Hank’s knowledge of the PA-46 is incredible and his teaching method is precise and friendly. In just four days, Hank was able to get me flying my new plane with confidence and with the training I needed to step up into pressurized flight. I would highly recommend Hank for initial training and will continue to use him for my annual recurrent training.”  LSS, Piper PA46-350P Initial Training, San Antonio, TX

“Hank [was] professional, thorough, prepared, and well versed in all airframe, engine, and avionics systems and operations….[He] integrated all of [the systems and operations] into piloting and maintaining the aircraft.  I was impressed and grateful because achieving competency and excellence are essential to safety….[These] are clearly [his] objectives.  I’ve flown with many instructors and [Hank] is the top tier.” Kent Chambers, Columbia 400 Initial Training, Austin, TX