Award presented at AEA Convention in Orlando
ORLANDO, FLORIDA, April 24, 2023 -- More than 1,400 avionics manufacturers, repair stations, approved maintenance organizations and other general aviation professionals have converged at the 66th annual Aircraft Electronics Association International Convention & Trade Show, which opened today at the Gaylord Palms Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The four-day event takes place April 24-27, and it is the largest gathering of avionics manufacturers, distributors and government-certified repair stations in the world.
During the opening session, the Federal Aviation Administration presented the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award to Ric Peri, AEA vice president of government and industry affairs. The award is named in honor of Charles Taylor, the first aviation mechanic in powered flight, and recognizes the lifetime accomplishments of senior mechanics. Taylor served as the Wright brothers' mechanic and is credited with designing and building the engine for their first successful aircraft.
Robert Jex, FAASTeam program manager at the FAA's Flight Standards District Office in Orlando, presented Peri the award. Peri has more than 50 years in aviation maintenance as a mechanic, instructor, writer, consultant and auditor.
Following graduation from Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, Peri began turning wrenches in April 1972 at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, as a helicopter mechanic, where he worked on UH-1N Hueys. In 1975, Peri transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard working on the HH-52 helicopter. In 1978, Peri transitioned to C-130 maintenance.
In 1986, Peri earned his mechanic certificate with A&P ratings and began working as an aircraft mechanic at airports in California, followed by central Florida, and later Maryland. He earned his private pilot certificate in March 1987 and later earned inspection authorization with what is now the Tampa FSDO in 1990.
Upon his retirement from the Coast Guard in 1998, Peri was appointed director of maintenance for the National Air Transportation Association. He has been involved with the FAA Safety Team and has assisted several FSDOs with IA and repair station training programs. Peri also owns a Cessna 172 and has restored and currently maintains the aircraft.
In his current role with the AEA, Peri advocates for the avionics and maintenance industries before the aviation authorities worldwide with a primary focus on the Americas, Europe and the South Pacific regions. Peri also has more than 25 years in association management and supports the membership through consultation and advocacy of aviation issues, with an emphasis on global maintenance, manufacturing and certification regulations. As an award-winning journalist, Peri has been communicating issues pertinent to the aviation industry since the mid-1980s in a wide range of aviation and engineering publications.
As an instructor, Peri has supported the aviation industry as adjunct professor at two universities and conducted organized training and education for the association’s membership. He also has been a guest speaker at several industry events worldwide.
"I am humbled and honored to receive this recognition," Peri said. "Charles Taylor, the namesake of this award, saw powered flight from its birth to the introduction of the jet age. My career has taken me from round motors, tube radios, and sextants to electric propulsion, autonomous flight, and artificial intelligence. I am truly blessed to have been a part of this journey for the past 50 years. I wonder what the next 50 years will bring."
To see the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award Roll of Honor, click here.
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Founded in 1957, the Aircraft Electronics Association represents nearly 1,300 member companies in more than 40 countries, including approved maintenance organizations specializing in maintenance, repair and installation of aircraft electronics systems in general aviation aircraft. The AEA membership also includes manufacturers of aircraft electronics equipment, instrument repair facilities, instrument manufacturers, airframe manufacturers, test equipment manufacturers, major distributors, engineers and educational institutions.