Mechanic who built first aircraft engine for Wright brothers honoured at US military museum

The Associated Press
July 22, 2014 07:29 AM

DAYTON, Ohio - The man who built the engine for Orville and Wilbur Wright's first powered aircraft has finally gotten his due.

It was Charles Taylor — a mechanic in the brothers' Dayton bicycle shop — who built the engine for the airplane that first took flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on Dec. 17, 1903.

The Wright brothers were inventors and are recognized for building the world's first power-driven airplane.

On Monday, a bronze bust of Taylor was unveiled at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton.

The self-taught mechanic hand-built the first airplane engine after a slew of automakers rejected the brothers' request to build one.

The Aircraft Maintenance Technicians Association in San Diego, California, raised $6,000 to have the bronze bust displayed at the museum, according to the Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/1nQ3u03 ).

Taylor had other firsts in history. He was the first airport manager, beginning at Dayton's Huffman Prairie where the Wright brothers perfected controlled flight. And he was the first mechanic of a cross country flight during a 49-day trek from New York to Los Angeles in 1911, said his great grandson, Charles E. Taylor II, 49, of Chicago.

Taylor stood with Wrights in the early years of the brothers' airplane company in Dayton, Ohio, and their travels to the East Coast and Europe.


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