Inducted in 1983
The World’s First Airplane Mechanic
1869 – 1956
Charlie Taylor was a silent but essential participant in the Wright Brothers’ success story at Kitty Hawk. In six weeks he built the 12-horsepower engine that powered the first successful flying machine, the Wright Flyer.
Taylor was hired by the Wright’s as a machinist at the Wright Cycle Company in Dayton, Ohio. His only prior experience with a gasoline engine was an attempt to repair one in an automobile in 1901. “Never did get it to work,” he stated later.
Taylor’s pioneering career in aviation mechanics spanned more than sixty years. After the first successful flights in 1903, he performed all of the preliminary engine design work for the Wrights and later taught them to build aircraft engines. He travelled with Orville to Fort Meyer, Virginia in 1908 during test flights for the United States government and was with Wilbur at the 1909 Hudson-Fulton flights in New York. Taylor later served as Calbraith Rodgers’ lead mechanic during his first transcontinental flight in 1911.