LINCOLN, NEB. — Joe Huffman, Sr., an FAA Certification Engineer with Duncan Aviation, and Bernard Michael, a former long-time technician with Duncan Aviation, were recently honored as recipients of the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award.
The Nebraska Aviation Mechanics Seminar committee and the FAA presented them with the awards at a banquet Jan. 29.
The Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award is named in honor of Charles Taylor, the first aviation mechanic in powered flight. Taylor served as the Wright brothers’ mechanic and is credited with designing and building the engine for their first successful aircraft. The award recognizes the lifetime accomplishments of senior mechanics.
Award recipients are required to have worked for 50 years in an aviation maintenance career and must have been an FAA-certificated mechanic or repairman working on N-registered aircraft for a minimum of 30 of the 50 years required.
Huffman has been employed in aviation for 50 years, including 48 at Duncan Aviation. He first became a pilot just after graduating from Lincoln High School in 1961. After graduation, he worked for Wallace Tiller in Bellevue as a landscaper until 1963. From there, he went on to his first aviation job in 1963, working at South Omaha Airport in Omaha, Nebraska. He lived there until 1965, when he moved to Denison, Iowa, and worked as a mechanic, instructor and charter pilot until 1967. He moved back to Lincoln in 1967 to work at Duncan Aviation and has remained there since.
During World War II, Bernard Michael developed a love of aviation from watching B-17s rumble over his father’s farm as they made their way from the Boeing factory toward the European Theater. When he came of age, he served his country by joining the Air Force. He spent most of his military duty working Counter Intelligence in the Philippines. After leaving the military, he attended Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology, where he graduated with an Airframe/Powerplant license and a commercial pilot certificate.
In January 1966, he started his 50-year aircraft maintenance career with Douglas Aircraft Co. in Tulsa, Okla. Moving around the Midwest, he repaired flight controls for Douglas Aircraft Co. in Oklahoma, performed IA inspections in Iowa, agricultural spraying in Kansas, and was a jet airframe shop supervisor for Duncan Aviation in Nebraska. Receiving the FAA’s Central Region Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Accident Prevention was one of the highlights of his aviation career.
Retired now, Michael continues to perform aircraft maintenance for friends at the Lincoln Airport and enjoys assisting with local air shows.
A third aviation technician, George Czarnecki of Central Cylinder Service in Omaha, was also presented with the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award at the banquet.