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.
The following donors made sure that the Wall of Honor will include a man who deserves to be written in aviation history: Ken Abeldt; Kyle Acuna; Aeronautical Repair Station Association; Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association; Aircraft Technical Publishers; American Airlines M&E; AMT Magazine; AMTSociety; Anonymous Donor; Baker’s School of Aeronautics; Mr. & Mrs. Brian Banks; Gregory Bowles; Mike & Karen Brennan; Gary Brossett; Ms. Jane Brown; Mr. & Mrs. Rick Browning; Mrs. Gloria Cosby; Crimson Technical College; Andy Curtis; Russ Dittmer; Kerry Dodge; D.O.M. Magazine; Mr. & Mrs. Brett Doran; Frank Dudek III; Ms. Jessica Espinoza; Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Fotoulis; Ms. Rhonda Fuston; Ms. Carol Giles; Honorable John Goglia; Ms. Sandra Gordon; Peter Guy, Mark Loetscher, and Michael Morelock; Dale Hasenkamp; Joe Hawkins; Mr. & Mrs. Dennis Hayes; Tom Hendershot; Mrs. Virginia Hess; Ms. Lauren Hurlburt, Michael Molzhan, Jermay Spenser, and Eugene Wells; Jack Jones; Kurt Kadel; Joseph Kilfeather; Aaron Klippel; Frank Krznaric; Andy Littel; Roger Martin; Byron Masters; Patrick McDevitt; Mr. & Mrs. Rich McNeely; Jim Milardo; Pete Miller; Ms. Lauren Morris; David Ostang; Dennis Pelletier; Lane Perry II; Russell Peterson; Marlin Priest; Mr. & Mrs. Phil Randall; Jimmy Ray and Questle Davis; John Ruiz; Ms. Tigist Ryals; George Sayner/Cindy Tagliapietra; Snap-on Tools; Todd Stranczek; Murray Thole; Arthur Tobey; TWU Local 561; TWU Local 562; and Chris Violanti