CAPE MAY — Larry R. Otter, former project manager at the Federal Aviation Administration’s Research & Development Flight Program, was recently honored as a recipient of the prestigious Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award.
The Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award is given to people who have worked for 50 years in an aviation maintenance career. The 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 Charles Taylor award recognizes the lifetime accomplishments of senior aircraft mechanics.
Otter is a Vietnam veteran and began his 50 year career in aviation by serving our country in the U.S. Air Force from 1968 to 1972. He was stationed at the Phan Rang Air Base in Vietnam. In 1976, Otter graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, earning a bachelor's degree in aviation maintenance management. That same year he moved back to his hometown of Cape May and landed his first job post-graduation at Southern Jersey Airways Inc. as lead mechanic and delegated inspector. Otter would work his way up to manager of quality control and chief inspector, eventually supervising his own team of aircraft inspectors and technicians.
In June 1990, Otter moved on to work at Cape Air Services Inc. as general manager and chief inspector, managing a flight school maintenance program, annual aircraft inspections and an FBO station, which includes fueling, hangaring, tie-down and parking, air craft rental and maintenance. Following Otter’s years at Cape Air Services until April of 1995, he worked as production inspector and A&P technician, performing engine overhauls at UNC Airwork Inc. From April 1995 to August 1997, Otter worked at Classic Air Services, of which a highlight was doing World War II aircraft restoration. In August 1997, Otter went on to work at the William J. Hughes FAA Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township, where he continued to excel in the positions of project manager, A&P technician and delegated inspector at the FAA’s Research & Development Flight Program for 22 years until his retirement in April 2019. Otter continues to reside in Cape May with Debbie, his wife of over 45 years, and is the father of three grown children, Christen, Richard and Steven. In his spare time, Otter enjoys playing guitar — a love since high school — and serving on the worship team and with the food pantry ministry at his church.