Charles E. Taylor 1868 - 1956
The AMTA is a non-profit organization, 501(c)6, and was created to promote to the public the proud craft & profession of the Aircraft Maintenance Technician; AMT. The first Aircraft Mechanic was Charles E. Taylor. Mr. Taylor, or "Charlie", was the Wright Brothers mechanic. Sadly history almost forgot the contributions that Charlie made to aviation. When Orville and Wilbur needed an engine to power their Wright Glider they were unable to find a manufacturer who could build one to their specifications. This is when they turned to Charlie. Having helped build and assemble a lot of the parts for the Wright Flyer the Wrights asked Charlie if he could build the engine. The answer was, "Sure."
Starting from a solid block of metal and using basic tools such as a drill, lathe and some simple hand tools Charlie built the first aircraft engine and all this from a rough drawing made on a napkin! The Wrights determined they needed an engine that could not weigh more than 180 pounds and had to deliver 8-9 horsepower. With the skill, knowledge and integrity Charlie possessed he provided the Wrights with a four cylinder engine with four inch stroke and four inch bore weighing 150 pounds and delivering 13 horsepower on the brake. All this was done in only six weeks! This engine was more than capable of carrying the weight of 625 pounds of machines and man.
In December 1903 history was made. But history almost forgot the man who helped turn the Wright Glider into the Wright Flyer. After more than 100 years of aviation it is long past the time where Charles E. Taylor deserves recognition. Although Orville and Wilbur always gave Charlie the credit for his contributions history has made him little more than a foot note. Charlie deserves better!
Charles E. Taylor created a profession whereby the very nature of this profession recognition is not noted by the public. Thousands of skilled and professional men and women have followed in Charlie's footsteps. These men and women like, Charles E. Taylor, carry the burden of an incredible weight. That weight is aircraft safety. Today's Aircraft Maintenance Technicians, from manufacturing to overhaul to line maintenance, do not seek the lime light. Just the opposite! Like Charlie did over 100 years ago, today's AMTs take their craft seriously and with pride.
It seems as if history repeats itself because today the Aircraft Maintenance Technician is being forgotten. The AMTA wants to change that. Next time you fly or plan on flying or see an aircraft streak across the open skies think about the countless men and women behind the scenes of aircraft maintenance who remain in the shadows of recognition but always remain professional and vigilant. Just like Charles E. Taylor did over a century ago!
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