Alabama Aviation Center (AAC) and Enterprise State Community College (ESCC) instructor Dan Riley was awarded the prestigious Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award Oct. 2.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) presented the award during a surprise ceremony at AAC’s Ozark campus.
"We are proud that Mr. Riley is being recognized as a recipient of the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award,” said Nancy Chandler, ESCC President. “Mr. Riley is a true credit to his profession, and we are honored to be a part of the recognition for his efforts."
The Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award recognizes the lifetime accomplishments of senior mechanics that have worked in aviation maintenance for 50 years.
There are only 1,728 recipients in the nation.
“Dan Riley has made a positive impact on literally hundreds, if not more people in the wiregrass by using his expertise and teaching them aircraft maintenance,” said Matthew Hughes, ESCC Dean of Instruction. “He is committed to excellence in work and helping people. I am proud to be working with Mr. Riley.”
Riley is a Dale County native who began his career in the United States Army as a helicopter mechanic.
Riley then returned to the Wiregrass where he worked at Fort Rucker for Hayes International Corporation and Page Aircraft Maintenance as an aircraft mechanic.
In the 1960s, Riley ventured to Miami where he worked for Pan Am airlines before starting his teaching career at the Baker Aviation School in Miami.
In 1997, Riley became a FAA Designated Mechanic Examiner (DME) with both Airframe and Powerplant ratings.
There are currently only seven DMEs in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. Six of those are affiliated with the AAC.
Riley has worked as an instructor specializing in aircraft structures for the Alabama Aviation Center for roughly fifteen years.
This is the second Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award given to an AAC affiliated member this year.
In July 2012, former AAC at Mobile Director, Larrie Zimmer was also awarded with this distinction.
There are only 14 recipients listed in Alabama.
The Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award is named in honor of Charles Taylor, the first aviation mechanic in powered flight.
The award recognizes the lifetime accomplishments of senior mechanics.
Taylor served as the Wright brothers' mechanic and is credited with designing and building the engine for their first successful aircraft.
In order to received the award candidates must be a United States citizen and have worked for at least 50 years in aviation maintenance.
Applicants must also be an FAA-certificated mechanic or repairman working on N-registered aircraft maintained under the Federal aviation regulations for a minimum of 30 of the 50 years required.