Meet the Crew

Tampa Bay Aviation offers quality yet flexible Part 61 flight instruction from experienced instructors. We feature an online scheduling program to keep you flying as well as available staff to answer any questions you may have. Our flight instructors share years of unique professional experience to tailor instruction to your needs as well as interests.

Zack Taylor

Zack Taylor has been a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI, CFII) in helicopters since 2008. Zack is also a Designated Pilot Examiner with the Tampa FSDO and provides in-house check rides for our helicopter students. When Zack is not at the flight school, he is usually flying Eurocopters for AirLife in Florida and Georgia. Prior to flying EMS Zack flew Bell Helicopters in the Gulf of Mexico to the oil platforms and also has experience flying tours as well as years of flight instruction experience in the Tampa Bay area. His turbine helicopter and “real world” experience along with his teaching background make him a well-rounded instructor.

Zack has the following ratings:
   • Airline Transport Pilot - Helicopter
   • Certified Flight Instructor (Instrument)
   • Designated Pilot Examiner

 

Laura Taylor

Laura Taylor has been a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI, CFII) in airplanes since 2006. Laura comes from a family of corporate and military pilots. With over 2200 hours of flight time, Laura has the experience necessary to meet her student’s needs.

Laura has the following ratings:
   • Commercial Pilot Multi Engine Land
   • Commercial Pilot Single Engine Land & Sea
   • Private Pilot Rotorcraft
   • Certified Flight Instructor (Instrument)

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Simons...

Chris became interested in aviation after flying in several small airplanes as a child. After working and saving up money for several years, Chris earned his Private Pilot's License in high school. After graduating college with his business degree, Chris moved back to the Tampa Bay area and finished his flight training to become an instructor.

Chris holds the following ratings:
   • Commercial Pilot Single Engine
      Land and Instrument
   • Commercial Pilot - Helicopter
   • Certified Flight Instructor (CFI, CFII)

 

 

 

 

Jose L. Gonzalez...

Jose is originally from Bogota, Colombia. As a child, Jose had always aspired to become a pilot. In 2012, he moved to Tampa and started his flight training in with ATP Flight School in St. Petersburg. He returned to Colombia to continue his training and became a Commercial Pilot. Now he is instructing here at the Clearwater Airpark.

Jose has the following ratings:
  • Commercial: Single/Multi Engine Land
  • (CFI, CFII, MEI)

 

 

 

Carlton Clayton...

Carlton Clayton is from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and received his licenses from ATP before relocating to Tampa Bay Aviation’s Clearwater base. He has been involved in aviation since he was a young child and has a passion for teaching in a fun and relaxed yet, safe manner. Throughout Carlton’s career he has had the opportunity to fly many different types of aircraft, giving him a well-rounded knowledge of the aviation world.

Carlton has the following ratings:
  • Commercial Single and Multi Engine Land
  • Certified Flight Instructor (CFI, CFII, MEI)

 

Roland Collins...

Roland’s interest in aviation began when he was a kid living near Pease Air Force base in New Hampshire. When he was 18, he began flying fixed-wing aircraft at Daniel Webster College in Nashua, NH, where he majored in Aviation Administration & Flight Operations. After more than two decades, which included a combined 16 years of police work and insurance fraud investigations, he reinvested in his passion to fly by training in helicopters. Since obtaining his helicopter private pilot license in 2007, he has acquired his Instrument and Commercial Pilot ratings and flies the Robinson 44, Raven I helicopter at TBA’s Albert Whitted Airport location entertaining tourists and locals alike with tours of St. Petersburg and the area beaches.

Roland has the following ratings:
   • Commercial Pilot - Helicopter
   • Instrument Rating

 

 

Jessica Bonerigo...

Jessica Bonerigo is the executive marketing director at Tampa Bay Aviation. Jessica joined our team in 2013 after previously working for a media research company. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Business Administration majoring in Marketing. Jessica’s involvement in the American Marketing Association has enabled her to bring comprehensive marketing knowledge to our team.

 

 

 


 

James Horrisberger...

James is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota and relocated to Florida in 2000. His passion for aviation began at the age of 3, when he first flew with his father, a private pilot. After high school James pursued a career in the golf industry for over a decade until he began flight training. James received his private pilot rating at Peter O'Knight airport in Tampa, Florida and continued his training with ATP, a commercial flight training school, at St. Pete Clearwater International Airport. Upon completion of the Airline Career Pilot Program with ATP he began his career with Tampa Bay Aviation.

James holds the following ratings:
   • Commercial Single And Multi Engine Land
   • Certified Flight Instructor (CFI, CFII, MEI)

 

 

Michelle O'Keefe...

Michelle is the Director of Operations here at Tampa Bay Aviation. Joining our team in 2013, she began working on the business operations side of the company before reaching into aircraft operations. Graduating from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts, Michelle continues to be on the pursuit of knowledge, now within the world of aviation. Michelle's previous experience in management, sales, and business organization has allowed her to greatly contribute to our rapidly growing company.

 

 

 

 

Vard Hunt...

Vard is a veteran of the USCG and began training at TBA from day one. Vard completed his Helicopter Flight Instructor Certification after honorable discharge from military service. Vard demonstrated exceptional perseverance in pursuit of his goal of becoming a professional helicopter pilot. Successfully completing helicopter training all while on active duty, pursuing a master’s degree in Aviation, and during extensive deployments abroad. Vard’s experience utilizing GI Bill benefits for flight training can be a valuable asset to any student seeking to use VA assistance. Additionally, Vard’s exposure to living and working in several states and nations give him a strong ability to adapt and connect with people of different backgrounds. As an instructor, Vard enjoys sharing what he has learned with others and strives to help students reach their full potential.

Vard holds the following ratings:
   • Commercial Pilot - Helicopter
   • Certified Flight Instructor - Helicopter

 

 

 

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