Christopher Nutter


Chris has served as a USC Aviation Safety and Security program instructor for more than 20 years in SMS and a variety of courses and was recently selected as the 2021 University Aviation Association John K. Lauber Safety Award recipient. The Lauber Award is granted each year for achievements in aviation safety, and this year for Chris’ many career contributions to industry education and safety advancements. The award is made each year in honor of Dr. John K. Lauber, a pioneer in the field of aviation safety and human factors.

Chris retired from a 22-year career as an Alaska Airlines Captain, check airman and instructor pilot on the Boeing 737-400/700/800/900/MAX aircraft. He served 3 years for the Fleet Manager followed by 7 years as the airline’s Director of Flight Safety, senior accident investigator and NTSB Party Coordinator, and a member of corporate planning teams. He was Chairman of the Airline Transport Association (now A4A) Flight Safety Committee for two years. He has extensive experience in Pilot Training, FOQA/FDM, and safety reporting programs such as ASAP. With 5 colleagues under the leadership of a visionary VP Safety leader, he helped design, develop, and implement the US airline industry’s first SMS, acknowledged by FAA and widely validated.

A retired Naval Aviator, Chris primarily flew carrier-based tactical aircraft including the A-4, A-7 and F/A-18 strike fighter. His 50 continuous years flying experience includes a wide variety of military services aircraft, general aviation aircraft and commercial aircraft. He was qualified as a US Air Force E-3 AWACS Mission Commander during joint duty assignments, served as a Safety Officer in several Navy commands, and as Commanding Officer of an FA-18C Hornet squadron.

He is a contractor simulator Pilot Instructor for Alaska Airlines. Separately, Chris works for Boeing in Pilot Training Development where his small group created Boeing’s first Competency Based Training and Assessment Type Rating course for the 737-NG/MAX, updated UPRT courses for all Boeing models and designs pilot training for customer airlines. At Boeing Chris also works in Global Safety Initiatives.

A graduate of Purdue University with an undergraduate BS degree in Industrial Management, Chris earned an MA degree in Business Administration, and an MS degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He is a graduate of the USC Aviation Safety Certificate program. He served as a past Chairman of the Aviation Advisory Committee for three local school district high school aviation programs and is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and the AIAA Aviation Transport Systems Technical Committee.

Chris began teaching in 1989 for Chapman College and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He taught undergraduate Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus, statistics, aviation courses including Crash Analysis and Design, and Airline Maintenance Management. He designed and taught a course in Aircraft Design for Non-Engineers.

Chris consults in aviation and safety, litigation support, and investigative research.

Published on November 8th, 2021

Last updated on April 29th, 2022