Jeff Johnson

Jeff was born into an aviation family and became a third generation pilot. He can’t even remember his first plane ride. His family owned a V-tail Bonanza and a Cessna 152. In 1998, at the age of 15, he attended his first National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada. This had a huge impact on his life as it cemented his passion in aviation. He set out a goal to design, build, and race a Formula One aircraft, resulting in him purchasing and studying engineering and aircraft design textbooks. In 2001, he started building a Zodiac 601XL kit airplane with his dad and uncle. Between the textbooks and long-term project of building the Zodiac 601XL, he had developed an intimate understanding of how airplanes work and go together.

Jeff formally began his flight training in 2009 and learned to fly in a Cessna 152. In 2013, the owner of the flight school he was attending called and offered him a job working in the maintenance department as the parts manager. This opportunity gave him a chance to see how a flight school worked from behind the scenes, as well as the amount of work that was necessary to keep airplanes clean and airworthy in a flight school. The flight school was later closed due to a labor dispute and Jeff decided to fast track his flying career and quickly finished his Commercial and Flight Instructor certificates. In 2017, Jeff purchased a Piper Cherokee with his dad in hopes of starting their own flight school. That project was shelved as Jeff went to work for the flight school that he finished his flight training at. He quickly developed a reputation as being a flight instructor that wanted to help everyone. He provided several free courses to help anyone in need, even having some attend that didn’t even go to that flight school. Becoming disenchanted with the direction the flight school was going, he left flight instruction after being head-hunted for a corporate pilot position for a small construction company. The CEO of the construction company asked Jeff to provide flight instruction to a friend of his in Jeff’s Cherokee, which Jeff did. About a month later, the CEO referred another friend who started flight training. Soon, the rumor got out that Jeff was flight instructing again and the phone started ringing off the hook. Utah Flight Academy was born. Maintaining his job as a corporate pilot, Jeff started his flight school with only one goal in mind: help others achieve their dreams of flight. He strongly believed that if helping people gain entry into the aviation community was our top priority, then everything else will fall into place.

In 2005, he began to get involved with the Young Eagles program by the Experimental Aircraft Association. This program offers free plane rides to kids. Jeff worked as a ground handler for 11 years before switching to being a pilot for the program. In his third year now, he has personally flown over 150 kids. Through his volunteer efforts, he developed a passion for sharing the aviation world with those around him. His time with the Young Eagles program laid the foundation for the kind of flight instructor he wanted to be. Jeff feels so strongly about being able to help others get into flying, that he has always had a personal policy that if anyone doesn’t understand anything in aviation (his student or not), they can come to him and he will teach them for free until they understand. This personal policy has gone on to be the standard for all the flight instructors working for Utah Flight Academy.

Jeff is currently building a Onex aircraft with his dad and uncle. His Formula One racer is still in design, but someday... He is very active with the local EAA chapter and continues to volunteer in just about anything involving airplanes in hopes of helping the next person take to the skies. His volunteer efforts to date include: 11 years as a Young Eagles ground handler, 3 years as a Young Eagles pilot, currently serving as the EAA Youth Scholarship Coordinator, currently serving as the EAA Youth Coordinator, 3 years in VIP hospitality at the National Championship Air Races, 2 years as a pit crew for a Formula One racing team, 3 years with the Minden Aviation Round-up, 8 years with the Skypark Aviation Festival, 4-time event speaker/presenter at the Leonardo Museum, 4 years with the Wendover Airshow, participant in the Angel Flight Santa Flight program, speaker/presenter at multiple elementary schools and summer programs, and more.

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©2018 by Utah Flight Academy.

Cloud Background: Kurdistann [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons