Alaskan Flying Pioneer

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Several of my stories in the past five years have mentioned Ted Knight in them. Ted is an outdoor enthusiast who continues to enjoy hunting and fishing on a regular basis despite reaching the senior citizen status several years ago. Ted will be 82 years young on his next birthday. I use the word young because old does nothing to describe this very active outdoorsman.

Just recently he took his snow machine into Elephant Lake and spent the day there ice fishing. He regularly hunts Caribou and Moose across the inlet. Ted started coming to Alaska from North Dakota in 1974. Each year he would drive to Alaska seeking another adventure in the great Alaska outdoors. Finally in 1979 he moved here and has been here every since.


Ted with his great granddaughter Sherrell Krizman who is currently going to college and commercial pilot flight school in Fort Collins, Colorado.

During the past 27 years here in Alaska Ted has hunted moose, caribou, bear, elk, deer, and Dall Sheep. Besides taking numerous fishing trips all over the state. Many of his hunting and fishing trophies from both North Dakota and Alaska on display in his beautiful home located along the Kenai River on Beaver Loop.

In 1944 at the age of 24 Ted and three other guys bought a J-3 airplane from a guy in Watford City North Dakota for $1400.00. Part of the deal on the airplane was that the owner would also teach each of the new owners of the plane how to fly. Once they had all solo out the transaction would be complete. Ted received about 4 hours of flight training and was told he was ready to pilot the plane alone. Ted was instructed to take off and then circle and land there beside the instructor. He proceeded to take off only to discover the plane dipped sharply to the right and then back to the left and controlling was a lot more difficult then it was on earlier flights. After he landed safely on the prairie his instructor asked if he learned anything from his first solo flight. Ted said "Yes you have been helping me with those rudders every since we started!" The instructor smiled and said "Well I guess I won't have to help you with them anymore will I?"

To receive your pilot license in North Dakota in 1944 your cross country flight consisted of flying from Watford City to Sidney Montana on to Williston North Dakota and back to Watford City. Except for Airport stops Ted did his entire landing in the cow pasture. Ted estimates he spent 30 hours total flying that plane before the group decided to sell it. Arnold Jellsed was the only other one of the group who learned how to fly.

This past fall Ted was visiting relatives in Colorado and spent a little time with his great granddaughter Sherrell Krizman who is currently going to college and commercial pilot flight school in Fort Collins Colorado. Sherrell who is 18 years old just received her private pilot license. Who was the first person to fly with her after receiving her pilot license? You guessed it great grandpa Ted Knight. A happy and proud Ted said with a big smile " I guess some of my flying skills have trickled down through the years." See you next week!

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