The XL Aviation Way

We’re the Premier Tailwheel Aircraft Facility

Our mission is to train pilots to be better and safer in the air and on the ground. Our fleet of aircraft and expert flight instructors will provide exactly what you need. We offer flight training in aerobatic, onset upset recovery, and air combat maneuvering. We also offer solo aircraft rentals and aircraft type certifications at all levels. Nowhere in the world will you find affordable access to a tailwheel fleet like ours and in a way that’s safe and fun.

If you are passionate

You’re ready to fly with us


Train with the BEST. Our flight training instructors know how to fly and love to teach. We’ll tailor the experience to meet your requirements and ensure it meets your needs.


Sharpen your skills. Whether you’re a beginner or a 10k hour professional, our instruction provided by top-flight instructors will take you to the next level. We design a program specifically for you. We start by improving your stick and rudder skills, and from there, your training takes off.


Fly freely. Our fleet is full of Pitts, Extra, and American Champion aircraft. Rent a plane for your next IAC competition, practice, or just to enjoy a San Francisco Bay tour.

More than just instructors

Experts with 100K hours of commercial & military training

Our Certified Flight Instructors are hands down the best in the world. They provide expert ground and flight training instruction for everyone dreaming of becoming a pilot or becoming a better one.

John Degennaro

Chief Pilot

John had a dream to fly in a Pitts since he was 4 years old. While working on his business degree at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, he finally got his chance to fly a Pitts. John went on to provide aerobatic instruction and compete in International Aerobatic Club competitions while attending college and instructing full-time.

In 2016, he went to work for Sean D. Tucker, flying air shows both solo and formation aerobatics, sponsored by the Oracle Corporation. He has over 1,000 hours of dual given in everything from primary to formation aerobatics. He has a true passion for flying inverted and sharing that passion with others. He specializes in aerobatic, formation, and tailwheel instruction. Let’s get inverted!

Allan Crabill


Allan has been a full-time instructor since 2004 for single engine, multi-engine, and instrument airplanes. He’s also earned FAA Gold Seal designation. To date, he has more than 6000 training flights completed and more than 100 practical test endorsements given.

Lynzie Hudson


Aerobatics was what drew Lynzie to flying. She learned to fly in the mountains of New Zealand and is an internationally qualified commercial fixed wing and helicopter pilot. She has been instructing since 2006 and specializing in tailwheel, upset recovery, and basic aerobatics.

Picture of Kristina Basham inside a plane

Kristina Basham

Certified Flight Instructor

I’ve always wanted to fly !! Born and raised in the Bay area, many of my earliest memories are from the Reno Air Races. I love flying with new students as well as those wanting to move on to become Commercial airline pilots, float plane Bush pilots or Aerobatic competition pilots …. Let’s Fly !

Mike Henderson: XL Aviation Owner Operator

XL is a work of Love. For as long as I remember I’ve dreamt of flight. I’m very fortunate with the help of great Aviators to have been able to make that dream a reality….not only for me… but for many many others as well.

XL Aviation is special. We ain’t a box checking hurry up to get your license flight school. Like me, XL is Old School. Our CFI’s are some of the best in the world. We’ll teach you to fly and fly well. I’m very proud of that.

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