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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Johnny Summers

Friday's Fabulous Flyer

Johnny D. Summers, Ph.D.
Johnny Summers is a professional airline pilot. But he's more than a pilot, he's a pilot giving back to his aviation community. It doesn't matter what aviation event you attend in the Seattle area, Johnny has a way of being there. Where's Waldo has turned into Where's Johnny?
He's got 13,000 hours of flight time.  As FAA designated pilot examiner he administers tests for ASEL Private, Instrument, Commercial, Military competency, foreign pilot conversion, Canadian conversion, CFI, and CFII certificates. 
1990 Desert Storm
Johnny began  his flying career as a US Army helicopter pilot. But after completing his degree, he transferred to the US Air Force and flew KC-135s refueling the SR-71 and then the F-117. 
He piloted the US Air Force Academy’s Wings of Blue competition parachute team, and was an instructor pilot at the Academy’s Flight Screening Program. Johnny spent three years as an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Studies at Texas Christian University where he was recognized for his teaching skills. 
Johnny has been a Regional Director of Flight Operations, Regional Director of Training, Chief Flight Instructor, Chief Pilot, and FAR 141 Commercial Chief Instructor. In 1997, Johnny was recognized as the FAA National Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year. In 2012 Johnny received the Washington Aviation Association’s Spirit of Aviation Award. 
Currently Johnny is flying 737s 
for Alaska Airlines

Academically, Dr. Summers is an Assistant Professor for Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He earned a Ph.D. in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. His graduate and post graduate studies focused on aviation and airport management, airport construction, and finance. Johnny’s bachelor’s degree is in Professional Aeronautics with a concentration in Aviation Safety. Finally, Johnny has an Associate’s Degree from Fort Steilacoom Community College (now Peirce College).

Johnny and his family make their home in Buckley, Washington, USA, and all the photos of the kids and planes, are his grandchildren after he gave them their first flight.

If you would like to meet Johnny in person, you can find him at the Seattle Museum of Flight conducting a Safety Seminar on behalf of Angel Flight West. Click on the Angel Flight Link and you can learn when he'll be there next. If you have any questions for Johnny, please leave them below.

Johnny, on behalf of all your fans, students, friends, family, aviation enthusiasts, and passengers... we all THANK YOU for the incredible gift you give to the aviation community, to safety, and to life. You're awesome and we appreciate all you do. Keep up the great work!

Please leave Johnny a question, 
or comment, or just say hello.
One day, he may end up in your flight deck. 

Enjoy the Journey! And have a great weekend.
XO Karlene


  1. Johnny is definitely an accomplished person. I wish I was in the Seattle to meet him as I would have a list of questions to ask. Thank you so much , Karlene, for bringing Johnny to our attention and I hope you and everyone have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Jeremy, I'm sure there will be FAA questions for pending ratings. It's great to have someone to resource. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Hi Karlene,
    A very nice article!
    About a year (or two) ago I had a nice chat with Johnny on the phone. We talked about Riddle, the airline biz and NCU.

    1. Pete, Thank you so much for the comment! Actually... did you attend Riddle? I'm going to get my PhD and thinking about Riddle as an option. I'll have to talk to Johnny.

  3. Hi Karlene. Yup, Dr. Summers is one sharp, experienced fellow and I enjoyed reading a little bit of his impressive history. Question: Is Dr. Summers one of those rare DPEs whose FAA authority allows him to examine pilots & issue type-ratings for *any powered flight machine*? Years ago I read that there but a handful of DPEs who have this authority. From the other side, who the heck examines and certifies for type ratings on rare, unusual, obsolete aircraft, perhaps one-off examples of aircraft large enough to require a type rating? (I certainly don't need one, but how does a pilot become rated to fly large, obsolete aircraft?) Great post about a great pilot and yes, Alaska Airlines is fortunate to have Dr. Summers on their staff. Regards, -C.
    P.S. Does your new book have a release date? I'm looking forward to an exciting read...

    1. Hi Craig, that is a good question. I will have to ask him. I'm not sure who does that.

      And my book release date is August 24th... but not announced until we get a bit closer. Life keeps happening with the family and demands. But this means 0300 work sessions. Moving closer. And editor standing by for the final edit next week!

      Thank you for the comment!

  4. I love how Johnny turned his passion for aviation into an opportunity to teach others via Embry Riddle. What a great story!

    Thanks for sharing Karlene,

    1. I think the essence of a captain is always to continue teaching. Thank you so much for your comment!


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