FlightSafety International has announced that Bruce Whitman has received the Médaille de l'Aéronautique from France. The medal was presented by Bertrand Lortholary, Consul Général of France, in New York on April 26, 2016.
This Order of Merit is a state decoration of France established by decree in 1945. The medal is awarded to military personnel and civilians of France and to foreign nationals for outstanding accomplishments related to the field of aeronautics. Previous recipients of the medal include Serge Dassault, chairman and chief executive officer of Dassault Group; Bernard Ziegler former Airbus senior vice president for engineering; Steve Fossett, the first person to fly solo nonstop around the world in a balloon; and USAF Major General Albert Boyd.
"It is a great honor and privilege to receive the Médaille de l'Aéronautique. It is humbling to join those from France and from around the world who have received this esteemed distinction," said Bruce Whitman, chairman, president & CEO. "All of us with FlightSafety are pleased and proud to have served and supported the aerospace industry in France for over 50 years and appreciate the opportunity to provide training services and products that enhance aviation safety in France and around the world."
FlightSafety's contributions to the aviation industry in France began in the mid-1960s. At that time Juan Trippe, founder of Pan American World Airways, wanted to expand the services the airline offered by marketing and supporting a business jet. The Mystère, which was renamed the Falcon Jet, was selected following the evaluation of a variety of aircraft. FlightSafety contributed to the selection process and was named as the factory authorized training provider for the Falcon Jet in 1966.
FlightSafety established the Center D'Instruction Falcon in 1975 as a joint venture with Avions, Marcel Dassault-Breguet Aviation, manufacturer of the Falcon Jet, and opened a Learning Center in Vélizy-Villacoublay, France, in 1976. The Center was relocated to the Paris-Le Bourget airport in 1987 and now provides training to more than 2,500 pilots and maintenance technicians each year.
Aerospatiale Aircraft Corporation selected FlightSafety to provide training for the Airbus A300, Corvette, and Concorde SST in 1974. FlightSafety established the Aeroformation Learning Center at the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport and operated it until it was taken over by Airbus in 1992. FlightSafety continues to support Airbus by providing full flight simulators for its aircraft.