Associate Professor, College of Aeronautics
Department of Graduate Studies
Worldwide College of Aeronautics
Worldwide campus

Areas of Expertise

Air carrier operations

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)

Research methods


Online education

Peer-reviewed publication

I got into higher education in a round-about way. I first started teaching as a flight instructor many years ago and truly enjoyed the experience. But big airplanes and travel were calling so I spent 10 years as an airline pilot flying all over the world, mostly carrying troops to bases scattered across the globe. When the airline I was working for started to falter, I decided it was a good time to get back into teaching. I was very fortunate to find an aviation professor position at a small college in Montana where I taught for 7 years. During the last two years I also worked with online graduate students, mostly helping them with their research and dissertations.

I have been with ERAU for 4 years as Assistant Professor. I am also currently the Research Chair for Worldwide College of Aeronautics. I still do quite a bit of research and writing. My primary research interests include plagiarism in online graduate education, differences between the average pilot population and pilots who have been in accidents, aviation faculty, women and minority participation in aviation, and aviation education best practices. ASA Publications published my book, an aircraft dispatcher oral exam study guide, in 2012. I am currently working on a book with the same publisher on Unmanned Aerial Systems. I am the editor of the Worldwide research journal the International Journal of Aviation, Aeronautics, and Aerospace, which is one of the up-and-coming aviation research journals. I have served and currently serve on editorial boards of numerous aviation and education scholarly journals. Lastly, I regularly write for a variety of aviation magazines including Plane & Pilot, Professional Pilot, and IFR Refresher.

I received my Ph.D. in Educational Studies - Higher Education Leadership, sub-specialty in Aviation Higher Education, my Master’s degree in Aeronautical Science - Operations specialization, and my bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management from Auburn University. I hold a wide range of industry certifications including an Air Transport Pilot, Certified Flight Instructor, and Aircraft Dispatcher.

The specifics for those that are interested:


Ph.D. University of Nebraska – Lincoln, 2009; M.A.S. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 2005; B.S. Auburn University, 1995

Flight Experience

Flight time: 6,000 hours

Certificates: ATP (MEL), Commercial (SEL, SES), Gold Seal CFI/CFII/MEI, Master AGI/IGI, Aircraft Dispatcher (ADX)

Experience: 10 years as an airline pilot (ASA Delta Connection and ATA Airlines); 9 years in aviation higher education

Major aircraft flown: E-120 Brasilia, Canadair CRJs, Lockheed L1011, Boeing 737-800

Places flown: North and Central America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East

  • Ph.D. - Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies, University of Nebraska System : Lincoln
  • M.A.S. - Master of Aeronautical Science in Aeronautical Science, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • B. - Bachelor in Aviation Management, Auburn University

  • ATP - Airline Transport Pilot
  • BGI - Basic Ground Instructor
  • CFI - Certified Flight Instructor
  • AD - Aircraft Dispatcher

Ison, D. (2011). An analysis of statistical power in aviation research. International Journal of Applied Aviation Studies, 11(1).
Ison, D. (2011). Higher education professional pilot faculty qualifications  Are the stakes rising? International Journal of Professional Aviation Training & Testing Research, 5(1).
Ison, D. (2011). Development and validation of an aviation research survey. Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education and Research, 20(3).
Ison, D. (2010). Instrument pilot course syllabi: A content analysis. Collegiate Aviation Review, 28(2).
Ison, D. (2010). Why teach aviation? A snapshot of the motivations and influences associated with the careers of professional pilot program faculty. Collegiate Aviation Review, 28(1).
Ison, D. (2010). Mitigating online survey nonresponse error in aviation research. Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education and Research, 19(4).
Ison, D. (2010). The future of women in aviation: Trends in participation in postsecondary aviation education. Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education and Research, 19(3).
Ison, D. (2009). Pathways to the aviation professoriate: An investigation into the attributes and backgrounds of professional pilot education faculty. Collegiate Aviation Review, 27(2).
Ison, D. (2009). Have we made progress? Trends in minority participation in postsecondary aviation education. Collegiate Aviation Review, 27(1).

Multiple articles in Plane & Pilot.
Multiple articles in Professional Pilot.
Multiple articles in IFR Refresher.

ADX Practical Exam Study Guide by ASA (2012)

5 years as CRJ and E120 Pilot at ASA - Delta Connection
5 years as L1011 and B737 Pilot at ATA Airlines
7 years as aviation faculty at Rocky Mountain College

University Aviation Association

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

Experimental Aircraft Association

FAA Safety Team Representative

University Aviation Association President

Research Faculty of the Year (College of Aeronautics)

Ossie Abrams Teaching Award (Rocky Mountain College)