The men and women who will be featured on this page are recipients of the F.A.A.'s Charles E. Taylor Master Mechanic Award. To receive this prestigious award an individual must have been in aviation for at least 50 years, have been a A & P licensed Mechanic 30 of those years. The must never have had their license revoked or any negative actions taken against their license.
Each recipient must be nominated by three separate individuals and these nomination letters are then sent to the F.A.A. where the nominee's records are checked. To receive this award is no easy task. For as the award is named after the "Father of Aircraft Maintenance" the nominees must exhibit the very foundation for which Charles E. Taylor used when he started the proud profession of the Aircraft Mechanic... Knowledge, Skill & Integrity!
It is because of the very men and women that have received this award that the AMT craft and profession survives today. The responsibilities that an Aircraft Maintenance Technician carries with them every time they touch an aircraft is not taken lightly. Providing an airworthy aircraft is something that a person learns and hands down to the next generation of AMTs. And thanks to these honorable men and women who are C.E.T. Master Mechanic Award recipients a great craft will endure.
C.E.T. Master Mechanic Award Recipient Richard Weeks
Mr. Weeks started his aviation career in the U.S. Marines in 1952. He worked on C-119s and was Honorably Discharged after four years. Richard received his A & P license on March 11th of 1959 and was hired by American Airlines on March 16th. He has worked at LaGuardia Airport, San Francisco Airport and San Diego Airport. Richard was an AMT Crew Chief and was highly respected for his technical skills and leadership abilities. Mr. Weeks has always lead by example and treated every AMT with respect because he felt that all AMTs belong to one family. A family that carried a great responsibility... that of airworthy aircraft. Richard always taught that if an aircraft could not be repaired before departure due to time constraints then that aircraft would not depart till the discrepancy was repaired correctly. Richard Weeks constantly upgraded the standards of the maintenance profession on a daily basis. Richard is now retired and spends his time playing golf and being with his family.
C.E.T. Master Mechanic Award Recipient Azriel Blackman
"Al" or "Blackie" as he has been known to his coworkers for the last 64 years, yes that's correct, SIXTY-FOUR years, started his aviation career back in 1942 at LaGuardia Airport in New York working on "Flying boat" aircraft such as the Sikorsky VF44, PBY, PBM and the PB4Y for American Export Airlines. During WW II American Export worked under contract for the Navy, which is where Al was exposed to military Seaplanes. American Export was a steamship company, sold their airline division to American Airlines in the middle 1940s.
Young Al who was only 17 years of age had to get permission from his mother in order to work. The airline had to agree not to assign him to night shift due to his young age. Of his early employment Al says, "I was left on their doorstep and they took me in, I thought they hired me, so I went to work.", and 64 years later Al is still at it.
Al served his country in Korea from 1950 to 1952 as a Helicopter Crew Chief in the Army Light Aircraft Division servicing and repairing M.A.S.H. helicopters. In 1960 Al transferred to Idlewild International Airport, which is now JFK. In 1965 he became a Crew Chief, and to the present remains in that position. It comes as no surprise that not only is Al the number one man in seniority at American Airlines but he has been for nearly as long as anyone can remember.
Al's love of working on aircraft has not withered over time. In addition to working on aircraft for a living Al is very active in aircraft restoration. His experience and skill are invaluable. Those who know Al have seen him create obsolete and irreplaceable parts from raw stock. The man defines the phrase "Master Mechanic". He took part in the restoration of the Sikorsky VF44 that is the showpiece of the Aviation Museum at BDL in Connecticut and is an active volunteer at the Boyd Bennett Field Museum in Brooklyn NY.
So far his amazing career has spanned from the era of the Flying Boats (like the Sikorsky VF44) and the DC-3 to the Concorde and the Boeing 777. Those who know Al are amazed at his boundless energy and enthusiasm. His attitude and humor make his workplace a much more pleasant place to be. When his coworkers ask him why he doesn't retire he replies, "Who would hire me at my age?".
C.E.T. Master Mechanic Award Recipient Berge Jermakian
It seems as if Berge always had an interest in things mechanical and airplanes in particular. His favorite toys were trains and airplanes. He was building and flying models from his early teens. In high school he took Aviation, Auto Shop and Wood Working as electives. During High School, he worked part time at various seaplane bases on the Hackensack River in NJ. At 15 he joined the Teaneck CAPC Squadron, which because of WW II was very active. With CAP, he got his student license flying missions. He had a lot of returning Veterans who taught classes in flight engineering, piloting & navigation. He was in "pig Heaven" learning and participating.
He joined the Army Air Force in 1949 and was sent to Aircraft and Engine school in Sheppard AFB where he graduated with a Crew Chief MOS. He was sent to Great Britain and served his time out at Burtonwood AFB working as an aircraft and ground support equipment mechanic/chief. The Korean War had depleted the manpower at the base and everyone had to work several jobs.
He was discharged in 1952, and went to Teterboro School of Aeronautics under the GI Bill where he received his A License in April of 1953 and his E License in October of 1953. His Air Force MOS allowed him to take the tests and get certified in a short time. April 1954 he found employment at KLM as an Aircraft Mechanic. There he worked on DC-4Fs, DC-6 (all models), DC-7 (all models), L-799 and L-1049 (all models) and Convair 440s in transit. In May 1959 he left KLM for NWA working as an A&P Crew Chief till retiring in August 2005; 46 plus years with NWA.
Early in 1961 he heard a couple of PAA and AAL guys were forming an exclusively aircraft mechanic's union: AMFA. He thought it was a good idea as the mechanics were always getting the short end of the union contracts, where all job categories were lumped together. April 1963 he joined up with AMFA and supported them ever since.
In 1959, studying on his own he passed the FAA Flight Engineer's written exam, but couldn't afford the check ride to get certified. In 1963 - 64 he completed a radio technician's course at RCA Institute. On July 4th, 1999 he was awarded the FAA Charles E. Taylor Master Mechanic Award.
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