The people who help populate our “society” of aircraft maintenance professionals have recently come together to have Charles E. Taylor’s name written on a very prestigious “history book” located at the same Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center where his likeness is on display.
The Hazy Center has an airfoil shaped memorial that recognizes those with a passion for flight called the Wall of Honor. Lettering ranges in sizes from 3/16 to 1 inch and because of the generosity of individuals and organizations and companies worldwide $10,000.00 was raised in eight weeks to have Charlie’s name engraved with the largest size lettering.
Since mankind conquered the challenge of powered, controlled flight there have been many technological advancements in both airframe and power plant. Throughout these small steps and large leaps in better technology to make flying faster and safer the Aircraft Maintenance Technician has remained silently vigilant. Perhaps the reason for this “silence” is due to the fact that Charles E. Taylor, considered the “Father of Aircraft Maintenance,” was himself “silent.”
Having created the first aircraft engines for the Wright Flyer, Charlie never looked for notoriety or fame. There were no reality shows or paparazzi back in 1903, there was just hard work, determination, and professionalism. Charles E. Taylor might have been able to turn his contributions to aviation into a personal fortune, however, like today’s proud, skilled aircraft maintenance technicians and aircraft maintenance engineers Charlie was given a task and set out to accomplish it to the best of his abilities.
History is written with facts by those who wish to make these facts available for people so they can remember the past and those who contributed to our future. The Wright brothers always gave Charlie his well earned recognition. However, since the first aircraft engine propelled mankind airborne it would take almost 100 years before Howard R. DuFour, with Peter J. Unitt, wrote the biography on Taylor titled “Charles E. Taylor 1868 – 1956 The Wright Brother’s Mechanician”.
It would take 99 years before Richard “Dilly” Dillbeck would have the State of California introduce and pass the first AMT Day Resolution that recognizes May 24 as AMT Day in honor of Charlie’s birthday. In 2006 the Aircraft Maintenance Technicians Association would donate a bronze bust of Charlie, created by Artist Virginia Hess, to the Smithsonian’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. This bust donation would be followed by further bronze bust donations and AMT Day Resolutions being passed.
These acts of recognition were made possible by many people who have the same passion for making sure that Charles E. Taylor is remembered in the pages of aviation history.
It is rewarding to know that the craft and profession which Charlie started remembers its past by making sure Charles E. Taylor is not forgotten.
Proceeds to go toward purchase of a bronze bust of Charles E. Taylor that the AMTA will be donating to the San Diego Aerospace Museum.
Busts slated for donation to the USAF and to Southwest Airlines.