PORT ANGELES — Jerry Weiler has spent a lifetime keeping his plane and others’ in the air.
Weiler’s nearly 50 years of work as an aviation mechanic was recognized nationally in a ceremony Saturday at William R. Fairchild International Airport in Port Angeles. About 75 people attended.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award has been given to about 1,550 people in the administration’s 53-year history.
“His attitude and performance really made him stand out,” said Patrick Paden, FAA aviation inspector.
“He is quite a religious man and very humble. He is outstanding.”
The presentation, which was held in Weiler’s old hangar adjacent to Rite Brothers Aviation, was a surprise for the honoree.
Weiler, who turned 70 Saturday, beamed after being given the award.
But he brushed off any notion that he did anything special.
“Whether you fly or drive a bus, that’s your job,” he said. “That’s what you do.”
Weiler graduated from Port Angeles High School in 1959 and began his flight training, according to Paden’s nomination of Weiler.
He earned his private pilot licence in 1961 and powerplant mechanic license in 1962 followed by his airframe rating in 1962, Paden said.
In 1962 he opened Weiler’s Aircraft Maintenance at the airport.
“He worked there continuously until 2005, when he sold his business to Rite Brothers Aviation,” Paden said.
“He then continued working at Rite Brothers Aviation.”
Weiler continues to work at Rite Brothers and has a plane of his own, as well as working on one that he is restoring, Paden said.
“He is very active in the aviation community,” he said.
“He is very well loved.”
The award is named for the first mechanic in power aviation, according to the FAA website.
“His work ethic, at almost 70 years of age, is still amazing, running circles around those decades his junior,” the nomination said.
“His knowledge of FAA regulations, procedures, acceptable methods and practices pertaining to aircraft maintenance gained over more than 50 years is truly remarkable.
“He is a role model to all of us.”
Reporter Tom Callis contributed to this report.Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at email@example.com.