The Wright Brothers Mechanic Profiled in Aug. 14 Lecture and Book Signing at The Museum of Flight

Author Peter Unitt presents “Charles E. Taylor – The World’s First
Aircraft Mechanic”

SEATTLE, – An Aug. 14 lecture and book signing by Peter J. Unitt looks at the man who put the power into the Wright Brothers first powered flight–Charlie Taylor. The presentation is based upon Unitt’s biography of Taylor, “An American Original – Charlie Taylor.”

Taylor was a skilled machinist who helped the Wrights run their bicycle shop at the Wright Cycle Company in Dayton, Ohio around the turn of the 20th century. After failing to find an adequate manufacturer for a motor for their first powered aircraft, the Wrights called on Taylor to assist in designing and building an engine. He made the historic 12-horsepower engine in only six weeks. Taylor stayed with the Wrights for years, devising bigger and better engines, yet his unique place in aviation history has only recently been recognized. Unitt’s lecture is at 2 p.m. in the William M. Allen Theater, and is free with admission to the Museum.

Peter J. Unitt
Peter J. Unitt was born and raised in England shortly before World War II. He served in the Royal Air Force until emigrating to the U.S. in 1960. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, eventually serving in flight test programs and managing emerging weapons systems programs. After his retirement in 1991, Unitt began writing about aviation history. He coauthored “Charles E. Taylor – The World’s First Aircraft Mechanic” with machinist and inventor Howard R. DuFour.

Charles E. Taylor Sculpture at The Museum of Flight
On Aug. 11 the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) and Alaska Airlines will donate a bronze bust of Charles E. Taylor to The Museum of Flight. The sculpture will be on permanent display in a gallery devoted to the Wright Brothers and the early history of aviation.

The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, Exit 158 off Interstate 5 on Boeing Field half-way between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for active military, $8 for youth 5 to 17, and free for children under 5. Group rates are available. Admission on the first Thursday of the month is free from 5 to 9 p.m. courtesy of Wells Fargo. For general Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit

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  1. Kathy Burgoyne says:

    I met Peter Unitt while waiting in an airport in Seattle on the evening of August 14th and found him and his story of Charlie Taylor fascinating. I vowed I would purchase the book when I got home and read it; however, I am having trouble finding it.

    Where might one purchase it?

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