ARTICLE: Safety is your decision
These three recent articles serve as excellent reminders of the importance of maintenance and the professionals who perform all of the complex, technical procedures necessary to keep the aircraft airworthy. The public tends to focus on the cabin crew, because passengers see the pilots and the flight attendants on their flights.
The job description of an aircraft mechanic was defined by Charles E. Taylor (pictured), who was hired initially as a bicycle mechanic in Dayton, OH. As his bosses tried to design the first aircraft, Charlie became involved in the creation of their invention. He is credited with building the Flyer’s engine. He became the Wright Brothers mechanic and worked with Orville in the 1908 demonstration of the vehicle’s ability to fly and thus winning an Army contract. His mechanical skills were greatly tested in 1911 when Cal Rodgers flew the Vin Fiz on a transcontinental journey. The Wright Flyer crashed 17 times along the flight path; so Mr. Taylor, who was on a train that followed Rodgers, had to repair the vehicle from several inadvertent contacts with the terrain.
The FAA established the Charles E. Taylor Master Mechanic Award. This year the award was given to David Thissell of Plymouth, MA. This aviation maintenance technician has been working at his craft for 50 years, working for an airline, the Air National Guard, several maintenance organizations and recently, his own company. Mr, Thissell has received previous honors and is highly respected by his fellow AMTs.
The Professional Aviation Mechanics Association posted a well written editorial on the relationship between the mechanic and the owner/operator. While the writer is addressing the GA sector, his message of choosing the highest levels of safety should resonate with MX decisions on all aircraft.
The third piece cited above is a call by the Aircraft Maintenance Technicians Association for donations to include Charles E. Taylor’s name on the National Air & Space Museum’s Wall of Honor. If you concur that this first mechanic deserves this honor, click on the link and consider a donation.
In summary, Aircraft Maintenance Technicians or plain old mechanics are critical to aviation safety. While they may not be as visible to the public and the cabin crew, they perform essential tasks equal to their fellow aviation professionals.