January 30, 2013

Seasoned pilot John Wight joins Aviation Technology Division

John Wight is an associate professor in the Community & Technical College's Aviation Technology Division. He graduated from Trinity College in the United Kingdom with bachelor's degrees in aviation and liberal arts and a Master of Business Administration. His certifications include airline transport pilot (ATP), certified flight instructor instrument (CFII),  and multi-engine instrument (MEI).

John Wight is pictured in the right seat of a Korean Air Boeing 747
training a new captain.
Q: Your previous experience includes extensive work in the aviation industry as a pilot and operations director for a private aviation services company. What prompted your move to work in higher education?
A: Having been part of aviation, management, and education for nearly 50 years, I felt that teaching at the university was the obvious next move.

Q: Why did you choose aviation for your career? What sparked your interest?
A: Probably the family history of my father and grandfather being in aviation.

Q: Could you share a bit about your background prior to joining CTC?
A: I began my career as a lieutenant in the South African Air Force. Afterward, I worked for South African Airways as a pilot, manager, flight instructor and check airman, which means I tested and evaluated the skills of other pilots. Eventually I became the owner and operator of Astral Aviation FBO at Rand Airport in South Africa. A fixed-based operator provides a variety of services such as charter flying, airplane maintenance, air taxi service and flight training.

In the late ’90s, I worked for Korean Air as a pilot, check airman and expert accident witness. I was brought in after Korean Air Flight 801 crashed while approaching Guam International Airport. After the incident the U.S. and Canada were threatening to shut down air space for Korean Air. In response, the airline appointed a new CEO and brought in outside talent to help re-evaluate their whole operation, which included rewriting flight manuals and overhauling their training program. More recently, I worked for Evergreen International Aviation, Inc. as their chief pilot and director of operations before joining UAA.

Q: What excites you about your work as a faculty member at UAA?
A: The ability to educate the future aviators of the world.

Q: Are you originally from Alaska? If not, what brought you here?
A: I was based here on a contract with Korean Air for eight years, fell in love with the state, and stayed.

Q: What are your hobbies and interests?
A: Flying, instructing, skiing, camping and travel.