About Our Team

Tampa Bay Aviation

 

Laura Taylor

Owner, Chief Airplane Pilot, Airplane Charter Pilot

Laura Taylor has been a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI, CFII, MEI) in airplanes since 2006. She comes from a family of pilots and grew up around aviation, which fueled her passion. Laura and her husband, Zack, opened up the flight school in March of 2012 and have truly enjoyed growing the company to where it stands today and introducing hundreds of new people to aviation. Laura has completed the Cirrus Factory training to become a Cirrus Instructor (CSIP) and enjoys transitioning people in our SR22 or SR20, or their own aircraft. In addition to flight instructing, Laura also enjoys flying as a contract pilot in a King Air 350, Challenger 604/605, and Citations. When not flying, Laura enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons and being on the water.

Laura has the following ratings:
• Commercial: Single/Multi Engine Land & Sea
• Airline Transport Pilot: Fixed Wing
• Certified Flight Instructor: Fixed Wing CFI, CFII, MEI

Zack Taylor

Owner, Chief Helicopter Pilot, Helicopter Charter Pilot

Zack currently oversees Tampa Bay Aviation’s part 61 and part 141 helicopter flight school as chief helicopter instructor and is also Tampa Bay Aviation’s helicopter charter chief pilot as well as director of operations. His previous experience includes flying Eurocopters for AirLife in Florida and Georgia as well as Bell Helicopters in the Gulf of Mexico to the oil platforms. Zack’s extensive experience and knowledge with helicopters drives Tampa Bay Aviation’s helicopter flight school to exceed expectations and continue to grow into a prestigious establishment also including helicopter tours and now helicopter charters.

Zack has the following ratings:
• Airline Transport Pilot: Helicopter
• Certified Flight Instructor: Helicopter CFI, CFII
• Commercial: Single Engine Land

Airplane Instructors

Daniel Klein

Assistant Chief Instructor, Charter Pilot, Airplane Flight Instructor

Born in Dunedin, FL, Daniel attended University of South Florida achieving a B.A. in International Relations. He started flying at the age of 14 and his first interaction with planes was actually here at the Clearwater Airpark washing airplanes, using the money he earned to pay for flying lessons. He obtained his private pilot license at the age of 17.  He took a sabbatical from flying for a while but returned in the summer of 2016 and achieved his goals to obtain his Instrument, Commercial, CFI and CFII certifications. His favorite aircraft is the Cirrus. Just recently he flew his furthest flight yet to Texas volunteering his flight time flying relief supplies for Hurricane Harvey. He enjoys flying and instructing future pilots to reach their goals in the aviation world.

Daniel has the following ratings:

  • Commercial: Single Engine Land/ Multi Engine Land
  • Certified Flight Instructor: Fixed Wing CFI, CFII
Ryan McDonald

Ryan McDonald

Airplane Flight Instructor

Ryan McDonald holds the following ratings:

  • Commercial: Single/Multi Engine Land
  • Certified Flight Instructor: Fixed Wing CFI, CFII, MEI
Robb Swiatek

robb swiatek

Airplane Flight Instructor

Robb was born and raised in Connecticut. He attended Southern Connecticut University before  getting his private pilot license in Oxford. Robb went to ATP in Hartford to obtain the rest of his ratings and then later on instructed for them in Daytona, Florida.  He then began instructing with us in Clearwater. Robb hopes to build his hours in order to go on to the airlines.

Robb has the following ratings:

  • Commercial: Single Engine Land, Multi Engine Land
  • Certified Flight Instructor: Fixed Wing CFI, CFII, MEI
Robb Swiatek

jake silvey

Airplane Flight Instructor

Jake is a third generation aviator from Virginia destined to be a pilot.  Not only is his father a career pilot with United Airlines but both his grandfathers are pilots as well.  Jake graduated with a degree in Criminology from Ohio University and looks forward to following in his father and grandfathers’ footsteps.  Jake enjoys flight instructing, flying and their challenges.

Jake has the following ratings:

  • Commercial: Single Engine Land
  • Certified Flight Instructor: Fixed Wing CFI
 
Robb Swiatek

kevin kovacs

Airplane Flight Instructor

Kevin, who is from Allentown, PA, began learning to fly when he was just 17.  His interest in becoming a pilot was ignited by watching his older brother who was taking lessons.  After obtaining his flight instructor license, Kevin’s first flying job was a challenging one working for the U.S. Navy in Maryland as a civilian contractor teaching sailors to fly and achieve their first solo in just 10 lessons.  Kevin re-located to sunny Florida with its year-round great flying weather so he can log more hours and eventually move on to the airlines.

Kevin has the following ratings:

  • Commercial: Single Engine Land
  • Certified Flight Instructor: Fixed Wing CFI
 
Mike Longnecker

Mike Longnecker

Airplane Flight Instructor

Mike was born in Dunedin, Florida where he played hockey for 20 years, and then attended the University of South Florida for college. Mike came to Tampa Bay Aviation to get his private pilot license before going to ATP to complete the rest of his ratings. His parents have worked for an airline for his whole life, so Mike one day hopes to work for the airlines as well!

 

Mike has the following ratings:

  • Commercial: Single Engine Land, Multi Engine Land
  • Certified Flight Instructor: Fixed Wing CFI, CFII, MEI
Mike Longnecker

Adam Dentinger

Airplane Flight Instructor

Adam was born and raised in Clearwater, Florida before attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where he received a Bachelor’s degree.  Although Adam plans to achieve the necessary hours to fly for the airlines he enjoys flight instructing.  Flight instructing allows his own skills to improve while getting to enjoy introducing new enthusiastic students to the world of aviation.  Adam has availability for instructing seven days a week from as early as 8 am to as late as 6 pm. 

Adam has the following ratings:

  • Commercial: Single Engine Land
  • Certified Flight Instructor: Fixed Wing CFI
 
Mike Longnecker

Eddie Ruiz

Airplane Flight Instructor

Since Eddie was 7 years-old he has dreamed of flying! For Eddie, there is something about being in the sky with the birds that is absolutely freeing and provides a different perspective on the world. Raised by a single mother, and the youngest of three children, Eddie found his purpose in aviation. Eddie believes life has a way of showing you when and where you’re supposed to be….all you have to do is listen. In June of 2017 he completed his first solo flight and it changed his life.  After nearly 14 successful years in the corporate world and two degrees, he began to pursue his true passion. Eddie started his pilot-training right here with Tampa Bay Aviation and finished it elsewhere. After finishing his ratings and longing for a return to the family style environment, he returned to Tampa Bay Aviation to give back what was given to him and to aid anyone in pursuit of their dreams of flight. One of Eddie’s favorite parts of instructing is the “AH HA” moment when the light bulb turns on….the moment when someone finally understands what they are doing, how it’s supposed to be done and why they’re doing it. Eddie thrives off of those small victories and uses them as fuel to propel himself and his students towards their dreams and desires.

Eddie has the following ratings:

  • Commercial: Single Engine Land, Multi Engine Land
  • Certified Flight Instructor: Fixed Wing CFI, CFII, MEI
Mike Longnecker

Eric Johnson

Airplane Flight Instructor

Eric has the following ratings:

  • Commercial: Single Engine Land
  • Certified Flight Instructor: Fixed Wing CFI
 

Helicopter Instructors

Dennis Berghuijs

Assistant Chief Helicopter Instructor, Helicopter Tour Pilot, Helicopter Charter Pilot

Dennis Berghuijs, originally from The Netherlands, moved to Florida in 2013 to pursue a career in the aviation industry. After successfully completing the FAA and EASA pilot programs, he became an active Certified Flight Instructor in 2014 and joined Tampa Bay Aviation in 2016. In addition to instruction, Dennis does Tour, Photography and Charter flights.

Dennis has the following ratings:

  • Commercial: Helicopter
  • Flight Instructor: Helicopter CFI, CFII
  • Ground Instructor: Advanced
  • Private: Airplane
  • Instrument: Airplane

Ronnie Morales

Helicopter Flight Instructor, Helicopter Tour Pilot

Originally from South Coastal Georgia, Ronnie put aside his career in construction to pursue his dream of becoming a helicopter pilot. Moving to Central Florida to attend Bristow Academy in 2012, he earned his Private, Instrument, Commercial, Certified Flight Instructor and Certified flight Instructor Instrument Ratings. After working as a flight instructor at Bristow for 2 years, Ronnie was excited to join Tampa Bay Aviation in March of 2016. Ronnie’s passion is to fly and he is proudly living the dream.

Ronnie has the following ratings:

  • Commercial Pilot - Helicopter
  • Certified Flight Instructor: Helicopter CFI, CFII
Ryan Bell

Ryan Bell

Helicopter Flight Instructor, Helicopter Tour Pilot

Ryan Bell was born and raised here locally in Florida. Ryan started his Helicopter training at Tampa Bay aviation in January 2015.
He is our tour pilot at Albert Whitted airport, he also flies for the local news company.

Ryan Holds the following ratings:

  • Commercial Pilot- Helicopter
  • Certified Flight Instructor: Helicopter CFI
Ryan Bell

Bart Aarsse

Helicopter Flight Instructor, Helicopter Tour Pilot

Bart was raised in Holland before he came to the US to pursue his helicopter career. He was inspired to fly helicopters when he saw a rescue mission at sea. He trained at Bristow Academy and Hillsborough Aero Academy before accepting a flight instructing job here at Tampa Bay Aviation.

Bart Holds the following ratings:

  • Commercial Pilot- Helicopter (FAA and EASA)
  • Certified Flight Instructor: Helicopter CFI, CFII

staff

Katie Gannon Flight School Manager

Katie Gannon

Flight School Manager

Katie was born and raised here in Florida and because her father is an airline pilot she has been around aviation her whole life. She attended USF St. Pete. She has obtained her Private Pilot’s license and is working on her Instrument Rating at the Clearwater Airpark!

Stella Laclé

Stella Laclé

Marketing Manager

Born in Venezuela under British nationality, Stella grew up traveling around the world due to her parent’s work as international journalists. With over 20 years in the hotel, tour and travel & tourism industry and being trilingual, she brings guest service and tour knowledge to our team here at Tampa Bay Aviation. In her new role as Marketing Manager, she is eager to create and share new programs and be able to promote all TBA has to offer to our students, tour-goers, visitors and charter guests.

Raeven O'Neil

raeven o’neil

Assistant Flight School Manager

Raeven has lived in Florida her whole life. She currently attends USF St. Pete where she is majoring in marketing. Raeven uses her marketing skills to help run our social media as well as take tons of photos for the company. Although not a pilot herself, Raeven loves getting up in the helicopter whenever possible!

TANGO

Assistant Rodent Hunter, Certified In Napping, Part Time Security Guard

Spends her days at our PIE location, greeting customers and taking naps on every possible surface.

BRAVO

Lead Rodent Hunter, Certified In Curiosity, Full Time Security Guard

Spends her days at our PIE location greeting customers. Looking to start flight training soon.

Interested? Contact Us.

If you are interested in learning to fly contact us and we will get back to you right away.

tampa bay aviation

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