If your goal is flying the latest technology,
our passion is helping you achieve it.

In 2004, technologically advanced aircraft (TA) were introduced for the first time to general aviation. San Francisco Bay Area instructors — Peter KingEliot FloerschDaniel Heraldez, and April Gafford, and others — quickly realized that though these TA aircraft brought an increased level of safety to general aviation, they were going to require a new approach to flight training, especially when it came to human factors. The four instructors worked together to create a structured approach that incorporated basic flying skills with the glass cockpit in order to achieve the highest levels of flight safety. With April’s experience flying technologically advanced aircraft as a corporate pilot and her extensive study of human factors, she had the ideal background to understand this new challenge.  

During this time, April began instructing a student who wanted to go from zero flight experience to purchasing and flying his own personal jet. April knew achieving this long-term goal would require several types of aircraft, services, and training that were not offered in any one place.

With the desire to provide a structured, integrated approach to flight training that was based on individual’s long-term goals, April founded JATO Aviation. She was inspired by the military aircraft term: Jet Assisted Take Off or JATO. You can see a video of this here.


Read more about why April Gafford started JATO Aviation in the June 2017 issue of Cirrus Pilot. The official Magazine of the Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association. 


Today, JATO Aviation has grown to 5 locations (San Carlos, Palo Alto, Concord, Livermore, and Hayward) and has one of the largest fleets of technologically advanced aircraft in the San Francisco Bay Area. To share in the vision of the four original instructors, JATO has assembled “the best of the best” instructors who also believe in a structured, integrated approach to training. JATO is the only flight school in the Bay Area that has the distinction of being a Cirrus Platinum Training Center with some of the newest Cirrus aircraft available. JATO also provides luxury air charter, featuring both Pilatus and Cirrus aircraft.