Aircraft Mechanic Roy Niederlander honored with Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award
For 50 years Aircraft Mechanic Roy Niederlander has worked tirelessly to ensure thousands of aircraft have flown safely in the skies across the nation. This spring he was recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration with the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award, in recognition for his years of outstanding service.
Bestowed upon highly accomplished senior aircraft mechanics, the lifetime award celebrates mechanics for achieving 50 years or more of dedicated service. The award is named in honor of the first aviation mechanic in powered flight, Charles Taylor, who served as the Wright Brothers' mechanic and is credited with designing and building the engine for their first successful aircraft.
“I’d like to thank everybody, I’m humbled by this,” Niederlander said at the ceremony. “Sometimes it doesn’t seem like 50 years; sometimes it seems like forever…it depends on what airplane you’re working on,” he joked. “I just keep staying working.”
From sunup to sundown – and some days sunset to sunrise – Niederlander has put his heart and skills into maintaining safe aircraft. He earned his associate degree in aviation maintenance in 1971 at Columbus Technical Institute, then started his career in the U.S. Air Force. Later he provided aircraft maintenance service at Island Airlines (Port Clinton, Ohio), Capital Aircraft Electronics (Columbus, Ohio) and Lane Aviation (Columbus, Ohio) for several years before transitioning to The Ohio State University Airport in 2009.
Charles Jenkins, airport avionics and interim accountable manager, who submitted the application for Niederlander’s award, shared his admiration for a lifetime of service. “Roy’s extensive knowledge and eye for detail has made him an intricate part of the maintenance team here at The Ohio State University Airport.”
During a socially-distanced awards ceremony in spring 2021, Paul D. Gillenwater from the Flight Standards District Office in Columbus, Ohio presented Niederlander with the award while sharing his many career highlights.
“This is the favorite part of my job,” said Gillenwater. In his comments directed to Niederlander at the ceremony, he stated, “You had a good career and it’s still going. Everyone here appreciates all your contributions, safety, all the things you’ve done, the experience you bring to the job. You have a lot of knowledge you’ve got to impart on the next generation.”
As is customary, also recognized was Niederlander’s wife, Terry Niederlander, who agreed that it often takes much sacrifice from aircraft mechanics’ families to support their dedication to the job.
Niederlander’s immediate plans focus on continuing his passion of repairing aircraft, with his sights set on retiring at some point in the future.