There is a saying that goes, “History is written by those who survive.” But history is very long and if every event in history was to be written down history books would be the size of jumbo jets. Of course there are historical events that warrant, if not demand, they be recorded and passed onto future generations so specific accomplishments and sacrifices can be remembered for their value and importance. But history has a way of sometimes forgetting specific individuals who by themselves might not be important enough to be noticed but when their contributions are added to those of other individuals their place on the pages of history are undeniable.
One such individual is Charles E. Taylor, the Wright brother’s mechanic. Because of Charlie’s knowledge, skill and integrity he was able to provide Orville and Wilbur the power they needed to conquer POWERED, controlled flight.
Once the Wright brothers broke through this insurmountable barrier they quickly became recognized for the geniuses they were. And to their credit they always gave Charlie his due recognition for his part in helping the Wright’s achieve their goal. But after the Wright brothers passed away, and time marched on, Charlie’s story was almost forgotten.
Thanks to Howard DuFour, God rest his soul, with Peter Unitt, who wrote the biography on Taylor’s life, Charlie’s story can be told. Thanks to the beautiful art work of sculptor and artist Virginia Hess people can see what Charlie looked like.
On Tuesday March 2nd, 2010 the United States Air Force Academy accepted a bronze bust of Charles E. Taylor from the Aircraft Maintenance Technicians Association, www.amtausa.com. Aviation’s original “Unsung Hero” will be placed next to the Wright brothers and with this donation room is being made on the pages of aviation history for a man almost forgotten. The importance of having Charles E. Taylor residing in the USAFA’s McDermott Library cannot be overstated. Charlie is being placed next to the two men whom he belongs to be next to.
Having the first aircraft mechanic alongside Orville and Wilbur Wright in such a prestigious institution as the USAFA helps turn the light of recognition to a man who not only earned but deserves this recognition. With Charles E. Taylor resting beside the Wright brothers, or “the boys” as Charlie use to call the Wright brothers, the complete facts of one of history’s greatest achievements can be told.
Charles E. Taylor is aviation's forgotten man. But not to U.S. aircraft mechanics, nor to Virginia Krause-Hess.
The bust will be donated later in 2007 during one of the many events celebrating the University's 40th anniversary.
May 24 recognizes the importance of AMTs