Friday, Sep 21 2012 11:09 AM

Johnnie Burch Ligon, 1942-2012

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Johnnie Burch Ligon

April 14, 1942 — August 29, 2012

Johnnie Burch Ligon


Johnnie Burch Ligon, 70, passed away in Tehachapi on Wed., August 29. John was born on April 14, 1942 in Henderson, Ky. to John and Mary Burch Ligon.

He was remembered at a memorial service held at Wood Family Funeral Home, Tehachapi, on Saturday, Sept. 1. Burial was at Tehachapi Cemetery, West.

John was educated in local schools in Henderson, KY and in Evansville, Ind., where he graduated from North High, and attended the University of Evansville.

He enlisted in the US Air Force in 1965, received his commission when he completed his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering, and due to scholastic excellence, was enrolled in the Masters program as his full time ‘duty’ assignment, completing his Masters degree in 1970, also in Mechanical Engineering.

He was accepted into the USAF Test Pilot School in the first Flight Test Engineer class in 1973, and the following year became a Flight Test Engineer instructor at the Edwards Air Force Base Test Pilot School. He was also assigned to the USAF Canadian Forces Officers Exchange Program - Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment at Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada, and also served as a Flight Test Engineer at Eglin AFB, Florida.

John left the Air Force in 1981 to pursue his career goals in the Flight Test Industry at the Mojave Airport. In Mojave, he was head of all Flight Test Operations at Flight Systems Inc (later named Tracor), and in 1996 he started Flight Test Associates, Inc., being the owner and president of the company until present. He was also a designated engineering representative of the FAA in both Flight Test and Powerplant Operation. John completed STC certifications on more than 35 different aircraft during this time period.

He belonged to the Society of Flight Test Engineers (president during 1981-1983), and was also a member of the Society of Test Pilots and Engineers, Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He served on the Bear Valley Springs CSD and Association Boards for 10 consecutive years, and was a member of the Mens Club; being elected Man of the Year in 1985.

He had over 3,000 hours of Flight Test experience in over 70 types of aircraft.  He was an outstanding technical writer, and achieved more FAA Certifications than any other non OEM operator.

John was a family man, survived by his wife, Kae Lynn (Bunn), four children, and six stepchildren, including Johnnie B Ligon, Jr, Tina Mae Barrett and Glenn, Shawna Nicole Whitestine and Rich, Derek Lane Ligon and Gina, Stacia Riggs and Klaus, Amy Aguirre and Lamberto, Jr, Anthony Montoya and Kim, Matthew Robinson and Jena, Bethany Fouts and Chad, Laura Lynn Shahoseini and Reza. Grandchildren include Briana, Brittany and Chad Barrett, Madison, Colton and Cassidy Whitestine, Kate and Henry Ligon, Caymen Aguirre, Karlie, Jordan, Julia and Samantha Montoya, Joey and Nikki Dellibovi, Hayden, Savannah and Ariana Robinson, Braden, Kaylee and Emilyn Fouts.  

John was highly regarded for his superior intellect and expertise in his industry. He was respected for his many achievements as well as being gracious and generous to all. He treated family, friends and business associates with honesty, integrity and the utmost respect. We will sincerely miss his unconditional love and his heartwarming belly laugh.

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