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John M. Ellis III

John Ellis


John M. Ellis III was born in Springfield, Missouri on December 24, 1940. John's aviation career started when he had a flight in a J-3 Cub piloted by his father when he was six years old. Since then, John has amassed more than 9,000 accident-free hours as a pilot. John graduated from the University of Missouri in 1962, the same year he received his private pilot's license.

John entered the U.S. Navy and received his wings in 1963 at the Naval Air Station in Kingsville, Texas. During his naval career he flew seven different types of naval aircraft including three supersonic types.

John moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan in late 1967 and opened a fix-base operation known as Kal-Aero Inc. and continues to serve as president and General Manager.

Starting Kal-Aero with four full-time and three part-time employees, over the years Kal-Aero has grown into one of the largest aviation maintenance and repair facilities of corporate aircraft in the United States currently employing over 320 people. The facility is located in Battle Creek, Michigan.
His Michigan aviation interests and affiliations include the Michigan Aviation Trade Association, The Michigan Association of Aviation businesses, an officer and Director of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) War Birds, a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Vice Chairman and Safety Officer of the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS), and President of the High on America Air Show Board.

John has flown more than 100 different aircraft types and holds an FAA certificate for low level aerobatics and performs in various air shows in World War II era aircraft.

John Ellis, pilot, businessman and aviation promoter was enshrined into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on October 19, 1996 for his many contributions to his country and to the State of Michigan with over 30 years of working unselfishly developing a major Michigan Aviation Business.

Smithsonian Institution Affiliations Program