Frank Gassett

Frank Gassett is a native Georgian born on January 31, 1938, in Byron, Georgia. Robins Air Force Base was in his backyard and became active in 1942 when Frank was just four years old. This setting provided the perfect backdrop for Mr. Gassett and led to his early interest in aviation. Mr. Gassett has held both the Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) license and a private pilot’s license (PPL) for over 50 years. His love of aviation would lead him to his life’s work, which began in the U.S. military.

In 1957, Mr. Gassett joined the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. Army at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. There he became a helicopter crew chief on Bell helicopters. He also trained for and became a paratrooper. It was while serving at Fort Bragg that Mr. Gassett’s desire to repair and fly airplanes was solidified.

After leaving the military, Mr. Gassett attended South Georgia Technical and Vocational School (today know as South Georgia Technical College) in Americus, Georgia, where he studied and trained to receive his A&P licenses. After successfully meeting all the requirements, Mr. Gassett was awarded his licenses in 1962. He would go on to receive his pilot’s license in 1964, his inspection authorization (IA) in 1966, and pass his Designated Mechanic Examiner (DME) written, practical and oral tests for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 1974.

After graduating from South Georgia Technical College (SGTC), Mr. Gassett worked for the Georgia Forestry Commission in Waycross, Georgia, and was responsible for repairing a fleet of 16 airplanes to include Piper Super Cubs and Piper Pawnees. The Forestry Commission also provided the opportunity for him to build up his flying hours. Mr. Gassett would later work as an Aircraft Maintenance Foreman at Auburn’s School of Aviation in Auburn, Alabama. There he was tasked with planning, scheduling, and supervising maintenance events on large and small, single, and multi-engine aircraft.

In May 1969, Mr. Gassett returned to SGTC where he became an instructor in the Aircraft Maintenance Technology (AMT) program. For the next 24 years, Mr. Gassett turned out hundreds of highly qualified and licensed A&P technicians. The SGTC Aviation School became a respected source for technicians throughout the industry supplying mechanics for airlines, general aviation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Space Program, and the corporate aircraft sector. Many of Mr. Gassett’s students went on to become high level leaders in the field of aviation maintenance. Airline and aircraft manufacturers, to include Georgia-based Delta Airlines and Gulfstream Aerospace, have benefited from Mr. Gassett’s years of teaching at SGTC. Former students have repeatedly cited three non-negotiable factors that were instilled by Mr. Gassett during class: safety, compliance, and personal integrity. These three basic foundations were mandatory, never open for discussion, went to the heart of what he was teaching, and clarified the life and death nature of the field of aviation maintenance. During Mr. Gassett’s time at SGTC, he maintained a nearly 100 percent placement for all students who graduated. In 1987, Mr. Gassett was nominated for, and received, the Governor's Award for Outstanding Service in State Government.

While teaching at SGTC in 1973 & 1974, Mr. Gassett became involved with the Georgia State Patrol in their quest to form an aviation unit. He was instrumental in helping set up the maintenance side of the operation. The Georgia State Patrol would go on to build one of the largest state sponsored aviation divisions in the Southeastern United States.

In 1970, Mr. Gassett started his own company, Frank Gassett Aircraft. The business continues to operate today and is an aircraft servicing and maintenance provider. The business also handles aircraft parts procurement. Mr. Gassett set a very high bar as a technician, instructor, and aviation business owner. His influence has been in place for over 60 years and will continue for years to come.