About Us

Pilot Makers Advanced Flight Academy

Let’s Fly!

Pilot Makers Advanced Flight Academy was founded to give aviators in the Mountain West, and beyond, the opportunity to enhance their flying skills and knowledge through tailwheel and aerobatic training with the belief that expanding our envelope as pilots improves both our safety and enjoyment as aviators. Loss of Control In Flight (LOC-I) has been on the rise in both commercial and private aviation. The unintended consequences of more conservative basic training, “safer” aircraft design and more advanced avionics technology is the increased reliance on things other than pilot skills. By bringing back skill sets that have been lost to these unintended consequences, Pilot Makers advocates and teaches more advanced pilot skills to offset the increasing reliance on technology that has been eroding physical flying skills. At the end of the day exposure to and confidence in the entire flight envelope that aircraft are capable of is what both gives us more confidence and enjoyment in flying, as well as making us better, safer, more knowledgable aviators when the unexpected happens.

Founder Barry Hancock has been flying and instructing in high performance aircraft for over 15 years. With over 3000 hours of flying to his credit, he has earned instrument, commercial, and certified flight instructor ratings. He holds type ratings in several vintage warbirds, including jets. Barry is an active competitor on the IAC contest circuit with several trophies to his credit and is also currently active on the air show circuit performing low level aerobatics in the T-6. Hancock is one of the few civilian pilots to fly in formation with military F/A-18 Hornets and has also lead a formation flight of 26 aircraft at the world famous Airventure air show in Oshkosh, WI. He has had articles published in several aviation related publications, and regularly speaks to youth and special interest groups about making dreams come true through our unique gifts and talents. Barry has owned several businesses but his passion is aviation – particularly aerobatics and instruction. As a result, he has recently set aside other pursuits to be involved in aviation full time. He and his wife Michelle live locally with 6 appropriately troublesome children.


I flew with Barry Hancock for 10 hours in his fantastic T6 Texan. Barry’s instruction was outstanding! Barry expertly explained our plans for each lesson and applied to perfect level of coaching during each flight. I am now a T6 owner myself and still hear Barry “in my head” during all phases of flight. I rank Barry up there with some of the best instructors out there.

Randy Sikora
1949 T6 Texan
Boca Raton, FL

When a spin was demonstrated to me years ago in a Cessna 150 something changed for me as beginner pilot. To be blunt, it scarred the crap out of me. Besides fear it ignited a dream within me to strive to master an airplane at all times and in all attitudes. ?

Flying with Barry @ Pilot Makers is a realization of that dream. Barry is an integral part of my pursuits in aviation. From riding with Barry in his beautiful T6 as an airshow promoter to currently training with him in his awesome Pitts S2C in preparation for transition into my own Pitts, it has been amazing. Barry Hancock is a professional aviator. His attention to detail, his amazing aircraft, his calm demeanor, and his patients with me as a mid-life, low time pilot is what sets him apart from other instructors I’ve trained with. Barry’s only agenda is to help me learn to safely, skillfully, and enjoyably operate the Pitts. I know I’m safe with Barry as my instructor. He allows me to experience all that I’m capable of experiencing as a new high performance aerobatic pilot. Barry has the capability with his Super Decathlon to teach tailwheel transition, intro to aerobatics, stall / spin, upset recovery, as well as advanced high performance training in his Pitts.

I look forward to many many more hours of learning the nuances of flying my new Pitts with Barry Hancock as my instructor, mentor, and friend.


Brett Naylor
Preston, Idaho.

I’ve gotten many checkouts before in multiple aircraft, and never had the sense Barry was “hawking” the controls or was hesitant to let me explore the capabilities of the airplane. If flying a T-6, (or any of the other aircraft Barry offers training in) is your thing, I would highly recommend him.”
Chris Ryan – ATP, UPS A300 Pilot