Duncan Aviation’s Bob Tooker Receives Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award

Bob Tooker, a sales representative and a long-time aircraft technician with Duncan Aviation, is honored as a recipient of the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award.

The Nebraska Aviation Mechanics Seminar committee and the Federal Aviation Administration presented the award at a banquet on the evening of Jan. 26 in Kearney. The presentation was conducted in conjunction with the annual evening banquet at the Nebraska Aviation Mechanics and IA Renewal Seminar.

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 a period of 50 years in an aviation maintenance career and must have been an FAA-certificated mechanic or repairman working on N-registered aircraft maintained under the federal aviation regulations for a minimum of 30 of the 50 years required. 

Tooker has been employed in aviation for 50 years, 43 of those years being dedicated to serving at Duncan Aviation. To start his career, Tooker joined the U.S. Navy in 1967 and was sent to avionics school in Memphis, TN, after he tested very high with an aptitude for aviation.

In 1974, at a time when there were only 17 aircraft mechanics at Duncan Aviation, Tooker came to the company to work on early model Learjets, Bonanzas, Barons and King Air aircraft. It wasn’t long before he began leading his own teams through major inspections. His first job as lead mechanic was for the 10-year, 10,000-hour demate inspection on a Learjet 23 and 24. He admits this first leadership run was a bit intimidating, but when he went on his first test flight doing test stalls and wing checks, it pretty much sealed the deal for Tooker on his love for aviation. He was in it for the long haul.

In 1984, Tooker helped Duncan Aviation develop and start its Parts and Rotables Sales department, which manages an extensive inventory of aircraft avionics, parts and rotables available for sale. Tooker traveled across the country buying aircraft to be parted out or inspecting potential parts consignments, helping build the inventory from scratch. For the remainder of his career, Tooker wore many hats, including inventory quality control and sales rep. One of his favorite projects was the disassembly, transportation and reassembly of a Learjet 35 that can be seen hanging in Terminal 3 of the Denver International Airport.

Tooker has a lot of gratitude for Robert Duncan, chairman emeritus of Duncan Aviation. “I always felt encouraged and empowered by the trust Robert put in me early in my career. I want to thank him for the fun ride.”

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