Bruce Bessette is a published author who enlisted in the Indiana Air National Guard while in High School in 1979. While in the Guard, he moved to Oklahoma to attend Spartan School of Aeronautics. His active service in the US Air Force began in 1983 where he was assigned to Davis Monthan AFB until 1987. In 1989 he went to work for America West Airlines as an Avionics Technician working on DH-8, Boeing 737, 757 and 747 aircraft. During this period he also began a part time life as a charter pilot. In 1993 he was offered an A&P mechanics position at Southwest Airlines and worked both line maintenance and heavy check on Boeing 737-200/300/500 aircraft. Bruce eventually became an inspector with the airline and was still flying on weekends. In 1995 he earned his Boeing 737 Type Rating.
In 1996 he accepted a position as an Aviation Safety Inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration. Those duties included Air Carrier Certification and Surveillance, Repair Station Certification and Surveillance, Airman and accident investigation. at one time Bruce was responsible for over 50 individual repair stations and training operators. He was instrumental in assisting those repair stations in transitioning to the reviewed FAR 145 regulations. This included re-writes of the repair station and quality manuals. He also helped many repair station develop their training programs. Bruce also certified many FAR 145 Repair Stations and Air Operators. He retired from the agency in December of 2007.
Currently he is developing and teaching the Avionics program at Pima Community College in Tucson AZ. This includes a course that prepares students for the NCATT AET certification.
Lorence Bessette received an FAA Airframe and Powerplant license in 1959 after graduating from an FAA approved technician school and went to work for North Central Airlines in Minneapolis MN. He worked for North Central Airlines for seven years and two of those years were in the electrical overhaul shop. He moved to Bonanza Airlines in Phoenix AZ and worked as an electrician which had a broad area of responsibility which include all of the electrical components including autopilots and cabin environment systems. Two years later Bonanza was merged with two other airlines to form Airwest Airlines which was purchased by Howard Hughes. He was assigned as an avionics technician and started his college training studying electronics and graduated with a BS degree from Arizona State University. He was a Supervisor of Avionics Maintenance and also worked in the engineering department developing engineering change orders.
Mr. Bessette began his career with the Federal Aviation Administration as an Avionics Inspector and then moved to Washington DC headquarters where he ultimately became the Avionics Branch Manager. His responsibilities there included development of Federal Aviation Regulations and policy in the form of directives for FAA inspectors and Advisory Circulars for public guidance. He worked closely with industry and developed field approval procedures of the new emerging avionics equipment. He also was the Aircraft Maintenance Division sponsor for inspector maintenance training and evaluated and approved contract and internal training.
He received a private pilot certificate in 1956 and currently holds a Private Glider and a Commercial certificate with single and multiengine ratings.
21 years ago, I received a call from the Federal Aviation Administration. This call came while I worked at Southwest Airlines as a Quality Maintenance Inspector. I accepted the position of Aviation Safety Inspector and showed up to the FSDO on my birthday. I was the youngest Inspector in the FAA at the time.
I did not know it at the time but one of the findings for the ValueJet accident that occurred just before my hiring was that the NTSB determined that the FAR 145 Repair Station regulations were out of date. I spent the next years learning the new updated rules that now included three instead of one manual and many other changes. I spend many hours on the road teaching the new rule requirements for all of the certificates I was assigned in Arizona.
I explained the new manual requirements, how to create a quality system, explained the rules about manual control, how to qualify and train their employees, how to describe the maintenance flow and taught them to follow the written processes they created in the manuals. After helping over 50 repair stations big and small I became an expert in the subject. I also learned how to be a teacher.
Today I am retired from the FAA and with the improving economy the demand for aviation services is greater than ever. I find my expertise and knowledge is needed more than ever. The difference today that then is now I can truly say “hello my name is Bruce and I am here to help”.