Yesterday was Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) 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. They know 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 Wright 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 simple hand implements, Charlie built the first aircraft engine – all from a rough drawing made on a napkin! The Wrights determined they needed an engine that could not weigh more than 180 pounds, but had to deliver eight to nine horsepower. With the skill, knowledge and integrity Charlie possessed, he provided the Wrights with a four-cylinder engine. It had a four-inch stroke and a four-inch bore weighing 150 pounds, delivering 13 horsepower on the brake. All of 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.
Thousands of skilled, professional men and women have follow in Charlie’s 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.
Teamsters Airline Division Teamsters