Meet Our Pilots

Mark Hackett

Mark was born and raised in Chicago, number seven of ten sons. The U.S. Coast Guard brought Mark to Sitka in 1977, when the new Air Station opened. Mark performed duties of Flight Mechanic and Hoist Operator on the Sikorsky H3F helicopter. Within his first week of arriving in Sitka, Mark took up Tom Brady’s offer of a flight lesson. After his second lesson Mark bought his first airplane, partnering with Don Ireland.

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After four years of service in the Coast Guard (the last two in Sitka) Mark pursued his Commercial, Instrument and Flight Instructor certificates in the Phoenix area. Returning to Alaska six months later he landed his first flying job, fish spotting out of Kodiak. Since then Mark has earned a living for the last 30 years flying in Alaska. He has ventured from Sitka a few times to fulfill a yearning for flying big airplanes. This included flying the DC-6 throughout Alaska and copiloting the Boeing 747 hauling freight around the world.

Mark recently celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife Phyllis. They live on a small Island near Sitka, where they raised their two children Adam and Maury. Mark has been flying for Harris Air since the spring of 2000 and enjoys flying the well maintained equipment, working with the great staff and never tires of the beautiful scenery.

Mark Hackett
John Reed

John was born and grew up in Eastern Oregon. After high school he joined the Navy, and spent the next four years in Vietnam on the USS Halsey in the ship’s engineering department. Next, he worked summers for the Forest Service, while going to college at Portland State University with his wife. In 1977 they moved to Sitka, where she became a hygienist, and John one day literally had an epiphany standing on the porch of their house, watching a Channel Flying Beaver; he would become a float pilot. So he left for Sierra Academy of Aeronautics in Oakland, thought to be the 2nd-best institution at the time for learning to fly. Back in Sitka, and after a couple of years of “learning” from many pilots in the area, he got his first job.

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As much as he loved flying however; in 1984 he left Mountain Air, and had a chance to get into Construction management, so left for Florida to pursue that. Eventually in 1988, he again found himself back in the Mountains of the Frank Church Wilderness of Idaho, flying into the many airstrips there, and all over the Pacific Northwest; for a time even doing corporate twin-engine flying. But seasonal work, eventually forced him to go to work for Micron Technology in Boise, where he had more stability as a single parent, and for 8 years he learned things about the high tech world. He has always enjoyed change, and learning new things, as you may have guessed by now?

In 2006, John was lucky enough (His words!) to return to Sitka in his current job flying either the Beaver or the Cessna 185 on floats for Harris Aircraft Services, and is currently our Safety officer. It was the perfect chance for John to return to his starting place in Aviation, and play cat and mouse in the challenging weather of this area; something he really enjoys more than anything else he has done! (Believe it or not?) 

When he isn’t flying, John enjoys photography, reading, movies, camping out with friends in the lakes of this area, and even giving flying lessons on occasion. What’s in his IPod? Sting, Loreena McKennitt, U2, the Boss, maybe even a book or a movie? He recently went to Thailand and Cambodia with his son, (Born in Sitka) and whom he hadn’t seen for almost 4 years because Chris lives in Japan. They both really enjoyed Angkor Wat he says. 

John Reed

The Harris Family

Having been born and raised in southern Minnesota it was only natural that Scott Harris would consider a post high school career in the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Joining in 1982, he was sent to a land station along the Sainte Maries River in Sault Sainte Marie Michigan. Disliking service painting buoys, he opted for training in the field of aviation where he spent the remainder of his 8 years as an Aviation Electrician working on helicopters and small jets. The USCG first sent him to Astoria Oregon then on to Sitka Alaska where he ultimately decided to leave the USCG and seek employment in Sitka’s civil aviation. He secured a job with Mountain Aviation as a mechanic working on Bell helicopters as well as small single and multi engine aircraft. It was during his employment that Scott married his wife of over 20 years, Laura Kronsperger.

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Scott and Laura’s lives intersected at Farmington High School when Laura moved to town in the summer of 1978. True love would have to wait, however, as she and her family left Minnesota three years later.

She went on to complete high school in Wooster Ohio. She then attended Bowling Green State University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Education. Her employment years during college taught her the fine art of book keeping and honed her skills in information management and business. She carried these skills to Oregon after graduation and found employment working for accounting firms in Portland while Scott was living in Astoria. She moved north to Alaska when he transferred in 1987. She continued her education earning a Master’s degree in Education Technology while maintaining employment with a local accounting firm and the University of Alaska Southeast. She ultimately accepted a job with Arrowhead Transfer where she is the Information Systems & Accounting Manager to this day.

Laura and Scott decided to branch out on their own beginning Harris Aircraft Maintenance in 1998 as a single-mechanic shop providing aircraft maintenance. In 1999, with changes occurring in the local aviation industry, it was decided to add an amphibious Cessna for charter services. Since Scott was not a pilot, they hired their first employee to fly the plane, beginning their career as an air taxi operator. The Company name changed in 1999 to Harris Aircraft Services, Inc. with the addition of an amphibious deHavilland Beaver. Their first Piper Chieftain followed in 2002 providing air ambulance services for Southeast Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC). In 2007 the Company added a second Chieftain for airport-to-airport passenger service.

In addition to air taxi operations the Company has continued to maintain a presence supporting general aviation by providing aircraft maintenance, storage and support services. Through the years the Harris/Kronsperger family grew to include their children, Rachel and Joe, as well as Rosie, their Australian Shepherd. The family calls Sitka its home yet travels often to family reunions in Minnesota and Montana.

Harris Family