By Ken MacTiernan, AMC Chairman
With 365 days in a year there is a day to celebrate almost every occasion. There are holidays like the 4th of July, Christmas and Memorial Day; there are also days to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays. There are even entire months dedicated to recognizing and celebrating specific events. Taking time out of society’s busy schedule to stop and recognize and celebrate these many different days helps bring awareness to the meaning behind these days.
But as an AMT you might ask, “Hey, is there a day out there that recognizes AMTs?” The answer is yes. Thanks in large part to Richard “Dilly” Dilbeck from the FAA’s Sacramento FSDO this day is a reality. It was because of Mr. Dilbeck’s efforts that in 2002 California passed the first Aviation Maintenance Technician Day Resolution which specifically recognizes May 24th of each year as AMT Day. This resolution was not achieved over night; not by a long shot. It was due to Dilly’s conviction, passion and determination that he was able to have then Senator Knight introduce and pass this important resolution.
With California leading the way other AMT Day resolutions started to be introduced and passed. The Aircraft Maintenance Technicians Association, WWW.AMTAUSA.COM, with the help of Maryann DeMarco and Bill O’Brien, was able to have U.S. Congressman Bob Filner (CA) introduce and pass a U.S. Congressional AMT Day Resolution bringing federal recognition to May 24th. There are efforts to have the U.S. Senate introduce and pass a similar resolution.
Okay, so AMTs have a day to call their own. But what does it mean? And why May 24th? This day was chosen in honor of Charles E. Taylor’s birthday. Charles was the Wright brother’s mechanic who built, by hand, the first aircraft engine which enabled the Wright brothers, and the United States, to lay claim to being the first in controlled, powered flight. Charlie was always given recognition by Orville and Wilbur Wright for his achievements but with the Wright brother’s passing, and Charlie’s nature of not looking for fame and fortune for doing what he loved, time quickly forgot Charlie’s well earned position in aviation’s history books.
With the passing of AMT Day Resolutions, May 24th has become a day where the aviation industry can stop and recognize Charles E. Taylor and today’s skilled AMTs for their valuable contributions to aircraft maintenance, industry wide. This day belongs to every AMT who carries the heavy responsibility of providing safe, airworthy aircraft. Many companies are starting to specifically take AMT Day as a day of saying, “We realize the importance that AMTs provide to aviation. Year round, in all types of weather and environments, AMTs tirelessly continue to raise the standards of their craft. AMT Day allows the industry, and public, to acknowledge this dedication and professionalism.”
AMT Day allows the aviation industry to celebrate who Charles E. Taylor was and the thousands of men and women who followed in his footsteps. These men and women are the true “Faces Behind Safety” in aircraft maintenance and May 24th allows the veil of anonymity to be lifted and the AMT craft and profession to be recognized.
There are many ways to celebrate AMT Day. Celebrations can be large or small. As seen over the past few years more and more celebrations are being held each May 24th. Examples of AMT Day being celebrated are Baker School of Aeronautics in Tennessee holding a yearly cook out with a Blue Grass band and awards being presented to AMTs; Banyan Aviation Services in Florida holding a huge lunch for their AMTs with awards being presented also. United Airlines in LAX has held a day long bar-b-que for their AMTs so each shift could enjoy food and drinks.
AMT Day was created to recognize the knowledge, skill and integrity of each AMT in every sector of aircraft maintenance regardless of the size or type of aircraft being maintained. This is because all AMTs belong to a brotherhood of skilled craftsmen. Today’s AMT, whether they are maintaining military, commercial, general, private, corporate, experimental or civil aircraft does so with the same commitment to safety. This safety can easily be taken for granted by the public and media. This is in large part because today’s AMT, like Charles E. Taylor, doesn’t look for the lime light and say, “Hey, look what I do.” Actually, it is just the opposite. AMTs perform their duties the same way Charlie did; there is a job to be done and they do it. And they do it well.
With AMT Day, AMTs can count on their craft and profession being recognized. With the calendar having so many different days to celebrate special occasions it is rewarding to know that May 24th is a day for AMTs to call their own. I would like to hear how your company celebrates AMT Day. You can contact me at JetDoctor69@gmail.com. AMT Day is your day. AMT Day is a proud day!