16:11 PM

Charter Member of CAP's Board of Governors, Bruce Whitman, Dies

Bruce Whitman, chairman, president and CEO of FlightSafety International and a charter member of Civil Air Patrol’s Board of Governors, died Wednesday at his home in New York. He was 85.

“We are very sorry to report that Mr. Bruce Whitman, a highly respected emeritus member who served on the Board of Governors for nine years, passed away yesterday,” said John Salvador, CAP’s chief operating officer, in an announcement made to the organization’s corporate employees and its 61,000 members.

Whitman was selected as CAP’s first Board of Governor emeritus in April 2014, recognizing his service as a charter member of the governing body. He joined the Board of Governors when it was formed in 2001 and remained on the board through May 2010.

During his tenure on the Board of Governors, he served on the Audit Committee and proved instrumental in challenging CAP to seek an unqualified audit opinion. As a result, the organization adopted the Wing Banker Program, which it currently uses, and earned its first unqualified audit in 2008.

Whitman’s death Wednesday prompted an immediate reaction throughout the aviation community, where he was widely recognized as an industry leader.

“All of us with FlightSafety are deeply saddened by Bruce’s passing …” read a statement from FlightSafety, where Whitman had served as CEO since 2003. “We are deeply indebted to Bruce for his many contributions to the aviation industry, his service in the United States Air Force, support of our veterans and those who currently serve, his contributions to Orbis International, and dedication to educate and foster patriotism among young people. We are thankful for his outstanding leadership of FlightSafety and especially for his friendship, guidance, and vision.”

FlightSafety International is the world’s premier professional aviation training company and supplier of flight simulators, visual systems and displays to commercial, government and military organizations. Whitman had worked in an executive capacity at the company since 1961, following two years as senior executive assistant with the National Business Aircraft Association and service in the Air Force, where he earned ratings as a pilot, navigator and bombardier before being appointed assistant to the commander at Homestead Air Force Base in 1957.

In addition to his work with FlightSafety, Whitman served in many advisory and leadership positions in aviation groups, including the National Business Aircraft Association, Flight Safety Foundation, National Air Transport Association’s Air Charter Safety Foundation, General Aviation Manufacturers Association and National Aeronautic Association. He was chairman emeritus of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation and a director emeritus of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. He was awarded the Living Legends of Aviation Lifetime Aviation Industry Leader Award in 2013.