Noel Gary Receives FAA Master Mechanic Award

The prestigious Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award was awarded to Noel Gary, Director of Aviation Technologies at Wichita Area Technical College (WATC), on August 28 at a reception sponsored by WATC.

Gary was honored for his efforts of 50 years of service to the aviation maintenance profession by Verle Engle, FAASTeam Program Manager for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Engle’s comments reflected upon Mr. Gary’s many accomplishments and the dedication and service he has provided for aircraft safety that impacts aviation across the world. “We are here for a great occasion and it is a privilege for me to honor Noel for an award that he has earned,” said Engle in his opening remarks regarding Gary’s career in aviation. “It takes special people to impart the knowledge, skills, and alertness to be safety conscious so the aviation industry has trained mechanics with good skills and thought processes.” Engle also stated that, “Noel not only has the knowledge and mechanical skills necessary to train mechanics but he also has the innate ability to communicate with people and relate his knowledge at a level that student’s understand.”

The Charles Taylor Award is given to select aviation mechanics that have worked in aviation for at least 50 years and meet standards of excellence in work and character. The Award is named in honor of Charles Taylor, the first aviation mechanic in powered flight, the man that built and maintained those first aircraft engines. Taylor served as the Wright brothers’ mechanic and is credited with designing and building the engine for their first successful aircraft. The award is in the form of a certificate and lapel pin. The certificate is signed by the FAA Administrator. A “Role of Honor” with the recipient’s name, city and state, and certificate number will be in a prominent place in the Washington DC, Federal Aviation Building as well as in the Smithsonian.

Gary, who was nominated for the award, by two WATC instructors and an FAA staff member, has worked in the aviation industry since 1957. Remarks from the nominees include:

“Noel Gary has served the aviation industry with pride for over fifty years,” acknowledged Dawn Brown, WATC Airframe & Powerplant Instructor. “His leadership has guided us in the right direction and his vision became reality. He has set the standard for Aviation Maintenance Training in Wichita, Kansas.”

“Under Noel’s leadership at the Aviation Technical Center at WATC, over 200 Airframe and Powerplant mechanics have received their certificates and started highly rewarding careers. His constant efforts to keep an environment of following rules and improving procedures are outstanding,” stated Lewis Wesson, WATC Airframe & Powerplant Instructor.

“Mr. Gary consistently demonstrates a strong moral character, unsurpassed work ethic, and a dedication to success. His efforts have produced high quality results time and time again,” said Stephen H. Wright, Aviation Safety Inspector – Assurance Branch, Oklahoma City, OK.

Gary’s certification and work history include:

Work History

• Served in USMR from 1956-1962, U.S. Army 1972-1978, USAR 1972-1992 Retired CW4

• Employed by Sandwich Airport, Sandwich, Illinois from 1958-59.

• TWA from 1959-1965

• Worked for Philko Aviation, Aurora, Illinois from 1965-68

• Comet Aviation, Kansas City, Kansas from 1968-1969

• Hired by B & L Helicopter from 1969-1972

• Federal Aviation Administration 1978-2001

• Aviation Tech Center 2004-Present

Certificate History

• Powerplant Certificate October 7, 1957

• Airframe Certificate June 12, 1958

• Commercial Pilot Airplane Single-Engine Land June 28, 1967

• Instrument February 8, 1968

• Multi-Engine April 13, 1968

• Ground Instructor December 16, 1980

• Rotorcraft-Helicopter Flight Instructor June 25, 1984

Gary’s surprise in receiving the Charles Taylor award was expressed in his words to the attendees, “I’m overwhelmed. I just can’t believe it. It is truly a cap to a wonderful career and I can’t thank my aviation and college buddies enough for nominating me and supporting what we do for the aviation industry.”

Peter Gustaf, president of WATC commented that, “It is very fitting in this National Center for Aviation Training facility to honor a pioneer in aviation mechanics. Noel has contributed 50 years looking out for the safety of the flying public and it is comforting to have Noel train our students to help assure that we have the highest of standards of aviation maintenance safety.” Gustaf also acknowledged Gary’s outstanding character as he stated, “We appreciate Noel’s values of hard work, perseverance, and attention to detail and all he has done to help the community build world-class Aviation Maintenance and Avionics programs.

Friday’s reception, which was held at the National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT), was attended by WATC Board members, employees, coworkers, friends, FAA employees, local dignitaries, and family members.

About Wichita Area Technical College

Wichita Area Technical College offers more than 60 areas of study for students, as well as career services. WATC works closely with business and industry to meet employers’ and students’ educational needs. WATC will serve as the managing partner for the National Center for Aviation Training at Jabara Airport, for world-class aviation and manufacturing training, open in 2010.