Today, 24 May, is the Birthday of Charles E Taylor.. the VERY FIRST AIRCRAFT MECHANIC...

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wktaylor

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Joined
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Midwest USA
Lest we forget...

Charlie Taylor (mechanic) (Charles Edward Taylor, 1868–1956), American inventor, mechanic and machinist

Charlie Taylor (mechanic) - Wikipedia

Charles Edward Taylor (May 24, 1868 – January 30, 1956) was an American inventor, mechanic and machinist. He built the first aircraft engine used by the Wright brothers in the Wright Flyer, and was a vital contributor of mechanical skills in the building and maintaining of early Wright engines and airplanes.
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The FAA's Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award is named in his honor. Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award - Wikipedia

The Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award is an honor presented by the United States Federal Aviation Administration in honor of Charles Taylor, the first aviation mechanic in powered flight. The award recognizes the lifetime accomplishments of senior aviation mechanics. Taylor served as the Wright brothers' mechanic and is credited with designing and building the engine for their first successful aircraft.
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Taylor is buried at the Portal of Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation in Burbank, California... a shrine to [early] aviation history/aviators/aviation professionals... Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation - Wikipedia
 

wktaylor

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2003
Messages
493
Location
Midwest USA
No relationship to Charlie Taylor what-so-ever. But here is more of our personal story.

My dad was a born in 1918 so the he was steeped in admiration/reverence-for all of the earliest aviators, aviatrixes, designers and other aviation professionals. He couldn't get enough of their history and exploits... which embedded him with an early desire to be in aviation. WWI aviators were a special favorite 'awe' for him, Eddie Rickenbacker in particular... a humble, smart, tough, pilot, racer, mechanic, innovator and record setter. And yet he was one of the first that understood the confluence of planning, risk, fortune and luck. ***

So when WWII happened he became a combat pilot and was sent to the CBI. One man that quickly became 'most important to him' was his crew chief 'Sgt Van Dorn'. He placed all his trust in this man's maintenance skills and dedication to giving him the best/safest P-40 every time he flew. 'Van Dorn' is someone my sister and I heard about when he spoke of his combat flying. They were a team.

When building his T18 in the late 1960s at John Thorp's shop in Burbank CA, and in talks with his sister living there, he learned about the 'Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine' that was located in BURBANK: he'd never heard about it! So he visited the Portal. He was in awe at WHO was entombed there. Many of the early prominent... but not spectacularly famous.... aviators and aviatrix's and designers with relation to California... in practically his home town [Hollywood is co-joined with Burbank].

And that is when Dad became acquainted with Charles E Taylor... the man who made the Wright Brother's first engines and took care of their aircraft for years... and almost died in obscurity. After the Wright Brothers no-longer 'needed him', he went to work at the Curtis Wright factory thru the 1950s... working quietly way. Someone finally asked about the history of their company and whether any of the early Wright employees were 'still around' [50-th anniversary of flight]. They were stunned to find that Charlie Taylor... the first Wright mechanic... was still working as a machinist there. At this point, Charlie Taylor finally began receiving the accolades he'd deserved but never received... he 'worked' simply because he needed the job and was devoted to 'his' company. And it was about this time that his cancer was diagnosed.

When he died, Charles E Taylor's body was entombed with other aviation 'greats' in the Portal . I have never visited the Portal... but Dad taught me about it's meaning and the great people it held. Shrine to early aviation... and Tomb [mausoleum] for the lesser-known 'greats'.

NOTE. As I understand it the Portal needs maintenance work and is in disrepair... and is fenced-off from the general public... open only for special occasions.

From the moment he visited the Portal to the end of his life, Dad felt a special appreciation/understanding for Charlie Taylor, because of his own relationship with his combat crew-chief... who had labored in relative obscurity while he flew the missions and was awarded 'air medals' and 'flight-pay'.

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*** Dad Admired Rickenbacker... and appreciated his humility and humanity.
in his post WWI exploits, as a race-car driver... Rickenbacker once said... "When I was racing, I had learned that you can't set stock in public adoration or your press clippings. By the time I was 26, I'd heard crowds of 100,000 scream my name, but a week later they couldn't remember who I was. You're a hero today and a bum tomorrow - hero to zero, I sometimes say."

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We all stand on the shoulders of giants who have come before us.
[nod to Isaac Newtons' famous quote].
 
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