Above and Beyond’s highly qualified, diverse, and passionate instructors are our greatest strength. Our instructors take great pride in ensuring your personal success as an aviator. Whether it’s your first lesson or you’re adding additional ratings to your pilot’s license, our experienced instructors craft a training program that suits your individual goals and thoroughly prepares you for your FAA practical exam. You receive individual, one-on-one attention to ensure that you are meeting your aviation objectives. Our unique training method saves you money by focusing on you, your individual learning style and getting the most out of every flight hour!


Flight Instructor Bios

George Farris

About George

More than the owner of Above & Beyond George is one of our most active instructors. George has been flying almost daily for the last twenty years. He has over 10,000 total flight time and 8,000 hours of dual instruction. He has his CFII and has taught the UT ground school for the past ten years.





Phone: 512-766-8359 (UFLY)




About John

John is a Gold Seal Flight Instructor who has been flying since 1977, and instructing since 1985. John holds Commercial and Instructor certificates for Airplane Single and Multi Engine Land, and Instrument Airplane, as well as an Advanced Ground Instructor certificate. He is a member of the FAAST (FAA Safety) Team, and is building an RV7-A in his garage. In addition to his flying activities, John plays in the Hill Country Community Band and teaches Sunday School in his church.





About Don

Don has been flying for 40 years. He has been an active Flight Instructor for 30 of those years with a Total Flight Time of 5200 Hours. Certified in both Single and Multi-Engine Airplanes with an Airline Transport License, Don is authorized to teach from the Private Pilot Certificate, Instrument, Commercial, Certified Flight Instructor, Multi-Engine, as well as Airline Transport Pilot. Don is experienced in over 37 different makes and models of aircraft and is an experienced King Air Pilot. As a former Band Director with emphasis on Low Brass and a Specialty on Trombone, Don teaches Private Band Lessons in Round Rock ISD when he is not Flight Instructing. Teaching has been Don’s lifelong passion.





About Mike

While attending Embry Riddle University, earning a BS in Aeronautics, Mike worked as a flight instructor. He continued to teach flying in order to build hours, but was impatient and joined the Air Force. In 1976 he earned his wings and was assigned to Sheppard AFB, as a First Assignment Instructor Pilot, teaching international students. Recognized for his superior flying and teaching abilities, Mike was quickly promoted to Flight Examiner; giving Instructor Pilots their check rides. He went on to fly Fighters, earning the title of Fighter Instructor Pilot in each jet; A10 Warthog, F-5E Tiger and F-16 Viper. He continued his formal education earning an MBA, then continued post-graduate studies at Texas A&M in Education and USC in Aircraft Mishap Analysis.

Mike is a Gold Seal Flight Instructor. He has approximately 7100 flight hours and 4600 hours as an instructor. His ratings include CFI, CFII, MEI, ATP (B737), TW, AGI and IGI. Mike welcomes the opportunity to teach the joy of flying and perfecting your pilot skills. “I enjoy being with the Above & Beyond Team and look forward to flying with you!”




About David

David has taught flight instruction since 2003, as a CFI and CFII. He also holds AGI and IGI ratings, and recently began exploring the world of drones with the RPC certificate. His 11,000+ hours were earned in Cessnas, Pipers and Cirrus aircraft, during which time he taught Private, Instrument, Commercial, CFI and CFII candidates.

He also logged a fair amount of time teaching in simulators (Redbid FMX) and has conducted ground seminars on a variety of topics. When he’s not flying, David enjoys playing music (multi-instrumentalist), writing fiction and non-fiction, and exploring the Texas hill country.




About Zach

A native of Louisiana, Zach studied history at LSU and upon graduating became a high school teacher and freelance journalist. A few years later he decided he would rather his classroom be in the cockpit. He went back to school and completed his professional flight training through Louisiana Tech University. He loves flight instruction and sharing his passion with new students. In his free time he enjoys reading, running, and golf.








About Edgar

Edgar has had his eyes to the sky since he was a boy. He grew up just outside of Randolph Airforce Base and watched all the planes and helicopters coming and going, and dreamed he too could enjoy the skies one day. He graduated from Tivy High School and went on to graduate from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Public Relations degree, but flying was where his passion was. He finally bit the bullet and started flying, and now he lives his dream, you probably won’t find anyone else that loves flying as much as Edgar. His ultimate goal is to get others to their very own dream, to instill passion and purpose in those who need a place to start, making every lesson enjoyable and FUN! Fishing, hunting, kayaking, swimming, hiking and traveling the world are the small few that are on the hobbies list. He has visited Spain, Amsterdam, Columbia, Mexico, and Peru, has hiked the Incan Trail and visited Machu Picchu, and will be on his way to Greece soon.







About Nick

Nick grew up in Cleveland Ohio but attended school in Athens, Ohio at Ohio University. He became passionate about aviation when a family friend took him to an airshow and has been hooked ever since. Nick majored in Aviation Flight but got curious about the business side of how things are run, so he got another degree in Aviation Management, and two minors, one in business, and another in communication. Prior to working at Above and Beyond, Nick worked for Ohio University as a Flight instructor, he loved it but decided to head south to escape the snow. Nick loves passing on his passion, and knowledge of aviation to his students. When not flying Nick likes to hunt, golf (slowly learning), watch Cleveland sports, and explore this new city/state of Austin, Texas.








Varun Shekar

About Varun

Varun is originally from Raleigh, NC and started flying when he was 13 years old. He received his private pilot certificate before his driver’s license at age 17 and became a CFI, CFII and MEI when he was 18 years old. Varun is an air ambulance pilot in Austin and is available part-time to teach primary and advanced courses. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and sightseeing in Austin.







About Eran

Eran is a CFII who graduated from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC with a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. Her true passion is flying and sharing her love of flying with others. Eran did all of her training in Raleigh and then decided to spread her wings and come out to Texas to teach. Outside of flying, Eran loves to go on adventures with her dogs and find great places to eat!







About John

John grew up in the co-pilot’s seat of airplanes and flew solo before he learned to drive. (Hint: The right rudder pedal in cars doesn’t work like it’s supposed to.)  He got his Private Pilot certificate in Houston, and his Instrument rating, Commercial Pilot, Flight Instructor (including Instrument Instructor), and Ground Instructor certificates in the Dallas area. He’s done most of his flying in Texas, but also some in the Northern Virginia and Los Angeles areas.

In addition to flying with Above & Beyond, John is finishing his Ph.D. in computer science at UT Austin.  At UT, he performs research on programming languages. Also at UT, he has taught computer science, which he enjoys teaching almost as much as flight instruction.  Prior to UT, John was an information technology (IT) engineer, consultant, and program manager.




About Jeff

Jeff is a Colorado native who can trace his love for aviation all the way back to Denver, CO where his Dad would take him to watch airliners land at Stapleton Airport (the old Denver International) almost every weekend starting at age 5. Jeff began flying at age 12 when a family friend who was a pilot started taking him up once a month. Jeff got his Private Pilot Certificate at age 19. He went to college and earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering but never lost the passion. Jeff worked in the Energy, Construction, and Technology industries but ultimately decided that he wasn’t really an engineer after all…he is a pilot and was made to fly! He actually did most of his training through Instrument rating, Commercial Certificate and CFI right here at Above and Beyond. It was a natural fit for Jeff to transition from student to CFI and work here as full-time Instructor passing on his passion, knowledge, and experience to others interested in flying. In Jeff’s downtime, he enjoys traveling, hiking the greenbelt, wakeboarding on lake Austin, and swimming.



About Barb

Barb has been teaching people to fly since 1998, with some 8500 flight hours of instruction given and forty-plus candidates signed off for the Private Pilot Practical Test. She most enjoys teaching beginners, but additionally specializes in spin training and the CFI spin endorsement. She co-instructs the Private Pilot ground school class offered by UT Informal Classes. She has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, and when she is not flying, she does research on the frontier of ancient Maya hieroglyphic decipherment. She has lived and traveled extensively in Mexico and Central America as an archaeologist, linguist and speleologist.