By Ken MacTiernan
With 365 days in a year there is a day to celebrate almost every occasion. There are holidays like the 4th of July, Christmas, and Memorial Day; there are also days to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays. There are even entire months dedicated to recognizing and celebrating specific events. Taking time out of society’s busy schedule to stop and recognize and celebrate these many different days helps bring awareness to the meaning behind these days.
But as an AMT you might ask, “Hey, is there a day out there that recognizes AMTs?” The answer is yes. Thanks in large part to Richard “Dilly” Dilbeck from the FAA’s Sacramento FSDO, this day is a reality. It was because of Dilbeck’s efforts that in 2002 California passed the first Aviation Maintenance Technician Day Resolution which specifically recognizes May 24 of each year as AMT Day. This resolution was not achieved overnight — not by a long shot. It was due to Dilly’s conviction, passion, and determination that he was able to have then Senator Knight introduce and pass this important resolution.
With California leading the way, other AMT Day resolutions started to be introduced and passed. The Aircraft Maintenance Technicians Association (www.amtausa.com), with the help of Maryann DeMarco and Bill O’Brien, was able to have U.S. Congressman Bob Filner (CA) introduce and pass a U.S. Congressional AMT Day Resolution bringing federal recognition to May 24. There are efforts to have the U.S. Senate introduce and pass a similar resolution.
Why May 24?
OK, so AMTs have a day to call their own. But what does it mean? And why May 24? This day was chosen in honor of Charles E. Taylor’s birthday. Charles was the Wright brother’s mechanic who built by hand the first aircraft engine which enabled the Wright brothers, and the United States, to lay claim to achieving the first controlled, powered flight. Charlie was always given recognition by Orville and Wilbur Wright for his achievements, but with the Wright brothers’ passing and Charlie’s nature of not looking for fame and fortune for doing what he loved, time quickly forgot Charlie’s well-earned position in aviation’s history books.
With the passing of AMT Day Resolutions, May 24 has become a day where the aviation industry can stop and recognize Charles E. Taylor and today’s skilled AMTs for their valuable contributions to aircraft maintenance industrywide. This day belongs to every AMT who carries the heavy responsibility of providing safe, airworthy aircraft. Many companies are starting to specifically take AMT Day as a day of saying, “We realize the importance that AMTs provide to aviation. Year-round, in all types of weather and environments, AMTs tirelessly continue to raise the standards of their craft. AMT Day allows the industry and public to acknowledge this dedication and professionalism.”
AMT Day allows the aviation industry to celebrate who Charles E. Taylor was and the thousands of men and women who have followed in his footsteps. These men and women are the true “Faces Behind Safety” in aircraft maintenance and May 24 allows the veil of anonymity to be lifted and the AMT craft and profession to be recognized.
There are many ways to celebrate AMT Day. Celebrations can be large or small. As seen over the past few years, more and more celebrations are being held each May 24. Examples of AMT Day being celebrated are Baker’s School of Aeronautics in Tennessee where it holds a yearly cookout with a bluegrass band and presentation of awards to AMTs; Banyan Aviation Services in Florida holds a huge lunch for its AMTs and also presents awards. Last year United Airlines in LAX held a day-long barbecue for its AMTs so mechanics on each shift could enjoy food and drinks.
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