Passion for planes becomes lifetime career

6/2/2011 12:35:07 PM

Bruce Peddle can pinpoint the exact moment he fell in love with airplanes.

His family lived in St. John’s, but his grandfather had a fishing camp on Newfoundland’s west coast. When Peddle was just five or six years old, his father took him along for a fishing trip, which started with his first airplane ride.

“I still remember going to the airport, getting on that airplane and flying to Deer Lake and from that day on I was hooked,” he says. “I was the poster child for aviation. I had airplanes hanging from the ceiling of my bedroom. I put together all the airplane models. I knew all the names. I really, really was passionate about airplanes.”

It was a passion that his father encouraged by bringing him to the airport to watch the planes take off and land.

By the time Peddle graduated high school, he already had his pilot’s licence. And while it seemed elementary that flying would become his career, fate had other plans.

“It was very difficult to find a job and I also had a little bit of an issue with my eyesight,” says Peddle. “That really prompted me to look further into continuing my aviation interest.”

He found the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Technician (AMET) program at what is now the Gander campus of College of the North Atlantic (CNA). Peddle was soon immersed in hands-on projects that taught him everything he could have ever dreamed to know about the airplanes he loved.

“The first year was airframe technology and the second year was focused on engine technology,” he recalls. “But it was really about having projects that were focused on completing repairs of certain parts of the airplane. So there was a lot of practical workshop time and I really liked that.”

He says the instructors were a big part of what made the program work for him. “They had come from industry and were very knowledgeable about the systems on the airplanes.”

Peddle went on to work in the industry himself for several years after graduating from the program, but eventually he decided he wanted to move into the business side of aviation. He earned his business degree, and went on to work with aircraft manufacturer Bombardier in international sales and marketing. He moved on to work for another aircraft manufacturer, Embraer, where he managed their Asia Pacific division in Singapore, before becoming a company vice president.

Most recently, Peddle was named Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Flexjet, the world’s single largest closed fleet of Bombardier business aircraft, and is based in Dallas, Texas.

Even though he’s more focused on marketing than mechanics these days, Peddle says he still draws on his experience in aircraft maintenance.

“In discussions related to the maintenance, the costing of aircraft, the processes of overhaul, all these things, I think I have a pretty good practical perspective because of the hands-on experience I’ve had,” he says. “I sit through a lot of meetings where we talk about the cost of operation of airplanes and what needs to be done to aircraft through their life cycle, and I guess I get an immediate connection with that - really understanding what needs to be done.”

Peddle says that understanding comes directly from his time in the AMET program in Gander.

“If there’s one thread that carries through my whole career it’s all about airplanes and I think that really came from the first two years I spent at Gander,” says Peddle. “I have high regards for the college there.”

Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Technician is a two-year program offered at CNA’s Gander campus. Seats are still available for the 2011/12 year, which starts in September.

Students who graduate from the program get certification from Transport Canada and are recognized by the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). The college is also working toward adding curriculum approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) under an agreement with Lufthansa Technical Training in Frankfurt, Germany. Once that curriculum is in place, graduates will have the option of completing an additional semester of training to become certified to service European registered aircraft.


Media Contacts:

Gina MacArthur
Public Relations Specialist
College of the North Atlantic
Ph: 709-643-7928

Erin Portman
Team One Public Relations (Flexjet)
Office: 512-448-0502
Mobile: 512-736-1640