CASI turns the spotlight on its members who are making an impact across the country and around the globe. These members exemplify the mission and vision of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute. We gladly highlight our members as part of our mandate to make it the place to foster national pride and international esteem for Canada’s accomplishments in aeronautics, space and related technologies. If you are interested in participating or nominating another member for the spotlight, please contact Danielle Tremblay at

This week we feature Mr. Koji (Victor) Ujimoto, a Professor Emeritus who now mentors aviation students. He has been a CASI member for 62 years!

How long have you been a Member of CASI?

I’ve been a CASI member since 1955. I joined when I was a RCAF Flight Cadet at the Canadian Services College Royal Roads in Victoria, B.C.

What is your most memorable CASI experience so far?
The most memorable CASI experience without doubt has been in establishing the first, second, and third Human Factors Sessions at CASI AERO Conferences in 2011, 2013, and 2015. Many of the students who participated have gone on to post-graduate studies and the research on the role of human factors in aviation automation and design has progressed considerably.

What’s the highest altitude and speed you’ve reached?
Flight Level 400 (40,000 ft) Mach .87

What is your current job?
I retired from the University of Guelph in 2000, but I have been mentoring aviation students in the Commercial Aviation Management Program, University of Western Ontario since then to the present. I also mentor students at the University of Waterloo, Purdue University and Cranfield University. Currently, I am on the Canadian Women in Aviation 2017 Conference Planning Committee and we are currently seeking sponsors. For more information visit

What is the favourite moment of your career thus far?
My most memorable experience was my first posting as a Flying Officer to No.3 Advanced Flying School (3AFS) in Gimli, Manitoba. How can one forget the wonderful sight of over 120 T-33s all neatly lined up at dawn for the day’s flights?

However, at this time of my life, I’d have to say that mentoring aviation students to facilitate their critical thinking skills has brought me such satisfaction. There has been too much emphasis on automation in the flight deck and too little emphasis on gaining experience should all computer systems fail and the student is unable to fly the aircraft.

What was your childhood dream job?
I grew up on a strawberry farm in Magna Bay during the Japanese Canadian internment period. I watched the aircraft flying overhead and daydreamed about flying someday.

Guilty pleasure: what can you not live without? My wife and I go for an early morning walk from 4:30 to 5:00 a.m. every morning and that has become a routine to breathe in fresh morning air, listen to the chirping birds and see the early morning jet vapour trails overhead.

Ken Watanabe

Ken Watanabe



Hiroyuki Sanada

Who would you like to see play the lead role if Hollywood made a movie of your life?
The two stars of the “Last Samurai”.  Ken Watanabe and Hiroyuki Sanada.

What is your favourite Aero or Astro activity?
Keeping up with human factors considerations associated with hypersonic aircraft currently under development.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been offered? To practice Kaizen; the art of ‘Continuous Improvement in whatever you do’.  The Uji-motto has been: Truth, Duty, Valor.

Where would you like to go that you haven’t been yet?  As a flight cadet at RMC (1956-58), my hobby was to observe the moon whenever it was full. I’ve been to most of the major cities in which the Flight Safety Foundation has held their annual safety conferences during the past 50 years. Thus, I would like to go to the moon. That would be really “John Glenn” cool!

Star Wars or Star Trek?  Neither. It’s MARS 2020!

What decision in your life would you most like to change and why? As Captain of my life, I have always been in control of my decisions based on keen situational awareness. I think that I have always planned for “alternates, with sufficient fuel” to reach my final destination. When prepared, the worst case scenario never seems to occur.