Duane Esse began his
career in aviation education as a middle school science teacher in
Onalaska, Wisconsin in 1962 where he used principals of flight and
aerial field trips to teach science, geography, and geology. He then
developed a high school aviation course that attracted students from
other districts and became a demonstration program for high schools
across the country.
In 1971, Esse was
named Chief of Safety for the Wisconsin Aeronautics Bureau where he
created and perfected safety training programs for pilots of all
aircraft, from corporate jets to ultralights. He conducted countless
workshops and seminars and developed a refresher course for flight
instructors that became a model for other states to use and improve
In 1990, Duane
developed the Aviation Career Education (ACE) Program to encourage
and train minority high school students for careers in aviation.
Hundreds of Milwaukee area students have participated and, as a
result, many are working in aviation today. Thousands of additional
Wisconsin students were introduced to aviation through his Aviation
Career Day programs.
Esse became a
nationally recognized leader in the fields of flight instruction and
safety training. He has received numerous awards, among them the
FAA's National Aviation Educator Award, and the Distinguished
Service Award by the National Association of State Aviation
Duane lead the Wisconsin Aerospace Education Committee for over
thirty years and was a founding member, secretary and board member
of the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame. For well over a quarter of a
century, no one has had a greater impact on the progress of aviation
education in Wisconsin then Duane Esse.
Duane Esse receives the FAA Regional Accident Prevention Counselor Award from Richard Porter, Milwaukee FSDO
Duane Esse at EAA AirVenture 2005
(photo by Rose Dorcey)