Today's history blog is dedicated to a fellow Aircraft Engineer from the Netherlands who suddenly passed away on the 21st of May. The aviation maintenance industry lost a dedicated and truly professional engineer. Our condolences go out to his wife and son, other family members, his friends and colleagues. Blue skies and Fairwinds, Rest in Peace R.K.
In the USA the 24th of May is a day dedicated to the recognition of aircraft maintenance professionals, Aviation Maintenance Technician Day. This date was picked in recognition of the date of birth of the engineer that built the engine of the Wright Flyer, that made the first powered, manned flight on the 17th of December 1903 at Kitty Hawk. That man was Charles Edward Taylor, who was born on the 24th of May 1868.
As the available engines were too heavy and did not provide enough power for the Wright Flyer the Wright Brothers turned to Taylor and asked him for help. In 6 weeks he designed and build the engine that would power the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk. The 152 pound cast aluminium engine provided 12 hp, 4 more than the minimum 8 hp that the Wright Brothers needed for their aircraft.
He continued to work for the Wright brothers until 1920 when he moved to California. Only to return to Dayton Ohio 1936 to help move the Wright brothers family home and one of their Bicycle shops to an open-air museum. He died from asthma-related complications on the 30th of January, 1956.
On May 24, 2007, a United States House of Representatives resolution supporting the goals and ideals of a National Aviation Maintenance Technician Day was introduced. On the 30th of April 2008, the resolution passed.