The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force honored the first aviation mechanic, Charles Taylor, by unveiling a bronze bust of his likeness for permanent display in the museum’s Early Years Gallery.A brilliant, self-taught man, Taylor began working in the Wrights’ bicycle business in 1896 and played an important role in their flying experiments for several years. Unable to find a manufacturer who could build an engine to their –specifications–no more than 180 pounds and delivering eight to nine horsepower–the Wright brothers turned to Taylor.
Today is the 110th anniversary of the first powered flight by Orville and Wilbur Wright at Kill Devil Hills in North Carolina. This anniversary is a good jumping-off point to reflect on how far aviation has come in the past 110 years.
Going, Going, Gone: Vanishing Americana, one of my favorite books, offers compelling evidence of how fast our world is being transformed. On page after page, we see products, services, vocations and styles that once seemed integral to daily life but have nearly or completely disappeared. Remember milkmen? Carbon paper? Phone booths? Drive-in movies? Vinyl records? All gone or mostly gone.
Russell W. Meyer Jr., former chairman of the Cessna Aircraft Co., will receive the fourth annual Wichita Aero Club (WAC) trophy at the organization’s Trophy Gala on Jan. 25, 2014.
“Russ’s contributions to the aviation industry and to the local community are so numerous and so extensive that it would take a book just to list them. He is, without question, a great choice for the Wichita Aero Club Trophy,” said Dave Franson, WAC president.
The PPG Industries Foundation has donated $15,000 to the Air Force Museum Foundation for construction of a fourth building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. The grant was made on behalf of PPG Industries’ aerospace business. The new building, scheduled to open in 2015, will feature four galleries illustrating the U.S. Air Force’s contribution to the space program; its role in transporting the president and other leaders; its contribution to global airlift missions; and research and development aircraft.
Banyan Air Service held its eighth annual AMT Day on May 24. The annual event pays tribute to Charles E. Taylor, the first aircraft maintenance technician (AMT), who built Orville and Wilbur Wright’s engine. At a time when new student starts in aviation technical schools are down and industry technician retention is low, Banyan uses the event to honor its aircraft maintenance technicians, avionics team and parts team.
As of January 1 the FAA’s Airmen Certification branch began issuing mechanic and repairman certificates with a new design on the back of the certificate honoring Charles E. Taylor, who served as the Wright brothers’ mechanic and is credited with building the engine for the 1903 Wright Flyer. Since the introduction of the updated airman certificate in 2003, the mechanic and repairman community has requested that the FAA issue a certificate that represents Taylor’s contributions.
Stevens Aviation’s Dayton facility dates back to 1946 as Ohio Aviation. It was one of the original Beechcraft distributors and authorized Beech Aircraft Centers. During the 1970s Ohio Aviation expanded its operation by adding facilities in Cincinnati and Cleveland. In 1983 Beech Aircraft purchased Ohio Aviation but continued operating it under its original name. Beech later sold the Dayton and Cincinnati operations to J.P. Stevens, which merged them into its aviation subsidiary, Stevens Aviation.
The first scheduled commercial airline service was operated on Jan. 1, 1914, with a flight between St. Petersburg and Tampa, Fla., in a Benoist biplane flying boat.
That’s what Wikipedia would have us believe. And the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum agrees. There’s even a plaque marking the event in St. Petersburg.
Bill Hardy, an A&P mechanic with Greensboro, N.C.-based Timco Aviation Services, was chosen to receive the FAA’s Charles Taylor “Master Mechanic” Award, presented to people who have more than 50 years of service in the aircraft maintenance industry. Recipients must also have a minimum of 30 years as an FAA-certified mechanic. n
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