Next Tuesday, May 24th is AMT ( Aircraft Maintenance Technician) Day. I would like to recognize all of the highly skilled certified Technicians that took an oath to hold in sacred trust the rights and privileges conferred upon them, knowing full well that the safety and lives of others are dependent upon their skills and judgment. They never knowingly subject others to risk that they would not be willing to assume themselves or those dear to them.
The First AMT was Charles E. Taylor, or "Charlie." He was the Wright Brothers Technician. 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 ponds 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.
Like Charlie, thousands of skilled and professional men and women have followed in his footsteps. These men and women carry the burden of an incredible weight. That weight is aircraft safety!
As a certified AMT myself, I take great pride in all of them for fixing it right the first time.
Director, Teamsters Airline Division