Today’s AMT

Consider what an extremely diverse group of people the aircraft maintenance technician community is today. The aircraft maintenance technician group, AMT, A&P mechanic, maintenance engineer -- call it what you like -- consists of a wide variety of people, accomplishing a wide variety of functions, in a wide variety of environments, in a wide variety of locations around the world. Today’s aircraft technicians have a variety of backgrounds, nationalities, education, training, and responsibilities all working on an even wider variety of aircraft and equipment. The flying machines we maintain range from sailplanes capable of effortless flight for hours on end with no power (other than the tow or winch that launched them into the sky) to the other end of the spectrum with aircraft capable of lifting hundreds of thousands of pounds into the sky and sit almost effortlessly at high altitudes, finally coming to rest on the other side of the world.

Our group of aircraft maintainers consists of women and men using their talents to maintain personal use general aviation aircraft, business and corporate use aircraft, airliners, military aircraft, museum aircraft, helicopters, sailplanes, and recreational aircraft. In recent years our group now maintains unmanned aircraft with no human beings onboard. We maintain these aircraft for a variety of missions, owners, operators, and companies, in a variety of locations around the world. Within the various segments of aviation you can find people who hold certificates issued by their country’s aviation authority, and others who are non-certificated yet have worked in the aircraft maintenance industry for years; more the case with the manufacturing, military, and repair station segments. Does holding a certificate make one an aircraft technician? Many aircraft technicians work in a back shop or component overhaul environment where an entire career could be spent without holding a personal certificate, or for that matter ever putting a wrench to an actual airframe with wings. All of this prompts the question, “What would Charles Taylor say today”? My guess is that one his first comments would be, “What a diverse group we have become.”

On May 24, the birthday of Charles E. Taylor, the Wright Brothers' first mechanic, we will again celebrate AMT Day in this country. Is your maintenance organization planning on celebrating? If so let the staff of AMT magazine know. Send us a photo of your celebration. In this issue of AMT magazine we celebrate by offering our readers a diverse selection of articles in print and on our web site AMTOnline. Visit page 34 to read about several recent recipients of the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award and online for an update on National AMT Day. John Rahilly on page 32 provides a compelling article on inspiring the next generation of aviation professionals; an article that Charles Taylor would have appreciated. On page 30 John Goglia asks and answers the question, “Why Charlie Taylor Should Matter to You.” Our technical articles cover aircraft window repair and maintenance, and turbine engine carbon seals. Charles Chandler, AMT field editor, spoke with representatives of the Southwest Airlines winning team from this year’s AMTSociety Maintenance Skills Competition and shares their story.

Happy AMT Day! Enjoy, Ron