John Knight was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi December 5, 1940. He attended High School in Star City, Arkansas and attended the University of Arkansas at Monticello. John has been married to Rose Thornton Knight since 1960.
In 1965, John received his private pilot certificate, later added a commercial certificate and then went on to receive his instrument, multi-engine, and CFI ratings. In his early flying days, John worked part time as an Ag pilot flying Super Cubs and Pawnees. He flew wildlife surveys for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in addition to Charter work.
Turning his passion for flying into public service, John was the "Face of General Aviation" in Arkansas for nearly thirty years as Director of the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics. Under his direction, Arkansas aviation and airports moved forward with millions of dollars of new construction each year. Airport operators in Arkansas enjoyed his years as Director. Without doubt, every airport received state money to improve their airport during his administration, many of them multiple times. During his tenure, just over 2,500 grants were given to airports in Arkansas - totaling over $151 Million.
After his retirement, he had served as Director for twenty-seven years, working under four different Governors. Knight is credited with having increased the annual appropriation for the Department of Aeronautics from $500,000 annually to $15,000,000 annually.