Alumni Profile: Ian Johansen

Chris Garten (left) and Ian Johansen (right), trumpet 2006

Chris Garten (left) and Ian Johansen (right), trumpet 2006

After a year of drum corps, Ian Johansen earned his Commercial Pilot’s Certificate from Mercer County College. He then transferred to Southern Illinois University to finish schooling and become a flight instructor. After graduating, Johansen jumped headfirst into the aviation industry. He worked a variety of jobs including towing banners, flying Skydivers, and navigating a high performance twin engine plane for an Aerial Survey company. Johansen’s career has taken him all over the country but the most impressive views he says are from 10,000 feet above cities and mountains.

ian2Now nine years into his career, Johansen is an airline pilot for Air Wisconsin Airlines, a regional carrier for US Airways. During the seven long weeks of the “intense, mentally straining training” program, Johansen had moments where he wanted to quit and go home. Drawing on his drum corps training, he reminded himself, “some goals are very difficult to achieve but through hard work and dedication anything is possible.”

Just like the seemingly endless nights of rehearsal (and sometimes agony) that would turn into standing ovations on the performance field, Johansen’s perseverance in training earned him an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate and his first Jet Aircraft Type Rating. Johansen now sits in the cockpits of Air Wisconsin’s 50-seat regional jets, transporting passengers across the continent daily from Florida, New York, and Canada.