For Immediate Release

April 11, 2005
Contact: Elizabeth Isham Cory
Phone: (847) 294-7849

CHICAGO, IL – Norbert (Bert) Okoniewski, Utica, MI, has become the latest recipient of the FAA’s prestigious Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award.

The award honors outstanding aviation mechanics with more than 50 years experience. It was awarded to Mr. Okoniewski by FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. The presentation was made on March 23, 2005, by FAA inspectors based in the agency’s Detroit Flight Standards District Office.

Mr. Okoniewski started working on aircraft in 1935 at Michigan’s Hartung Airport. He earned his pilot’s certificate that same year. He was an aircraft engine inspector for Hudson Motor Car Company from 1941 through 1943 before entering the Army Air Corps, where he worked as a B-17 Crew Chief, aircraft inspector and flight trainer.

Following his military duty he went to work for Greater Detroit Aviation, Macomb Airport, which is now Ray Community Airport. He received his FAA Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanic’s certificate in 1950, and his FAA Inspection Authorization (IA) certificate in 1980. His experiences as an A&P and IA mechanic included inspection, repair and overhaul of a variety of light aircraft including Pipers, Cessnas and Stinsons.

Mr. Okoniewski’s skills are highly commended by the FAA. Records show he has never been involved in any aircraft incidents, accidents or enforcement actions.

The Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award was initiated by the Federal Aviation Administration in honor of the first Aviation Mechanic, Charles E. Taylor. Taylor worked with the Wright Brothers to build and maintain the first aircraft engines.

Taylor’s first successful engine weighed 179 pounds and produced 12 HP at 1,000 RPM’s. It was installed on the famous Wright Flyer, which made the first powered flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903.