John Knolla is Director of Product Support Engineering for LMI Aerospace-Engineering Services in San Diego. He had his first airplane ride in a Cessna 172 at the age of 3, travelling from Jefferson City, MO (KJEF) to Joplin, MO (KJLN). During this fateful flight the pilot who had been chartered to fly him, his Mother and 6-month old little brother asked if he would like to fly the plane, and his world has never been the same since.
Born with a club foot, after multiple corrective surgery attempts, he had his right foot amputated at the age of 12. John qualified for a Statement of Demonstrated Ability (SODA) Waiver that allows him to fly aircraft without limitation and despite his disability he earned and currently holds a Commercial Pilot’s License.
A long time aviation enthusiast, pilot and airshow fan, John has flight time in over 40 different make/model aircraft including many popular light and experimental aircraft and, for the past few yeas, his desert camouflage 1987 Yakovlev Yak-52 that he calls ‘Red Six’. John flies ‘Red Six’ in aerobatics as well as formation flights and has previously volunteered his time and airplane supporting the EAA Young Eagles program giving children between the ages of 8 and 17 their first introduction to the freedom of flight.