Thomas “TJ” Hall, Air Methods airbase lead mechanic for Atrium Health’s MedCenter Air in Charlotte, N.C., has dedicated much of his life to maintaining helicopters that save lives. Hall started his career in the Vietnam War, at the age of 20, and has never looked back. His hard work and dedication earned him a special honor on Sept. 24, when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) presented him with the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award.
The award presentation took place at Atrium Health’s MedCenter Air hangar at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. The honor recognizes the lifetime accomplishments of senior mechanics and is named for 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.
“TJ’s insight as a seasoned mechanic and a leader have made a lasting impact on Air Methods,” said Michael Laeder, vice president of maintenance operations at Air Methods. “He has been incredibly generous in sharing his knowledge and experience with other mechanics on our maintenance team and he has inspired them to hone their craft. His work is a vital piece of our mission to save lives. He is incredibly worthy of this award.”
“TJ is well-deserving of this recognition and prestigious award,” said Katie Kaney, DrPH, MBA, senior vice president and chief administrative officer of Atrium Health. “I could not be prouder of him for his service to Atrium Health, his industry and most importantly the countless teammates, providers and patients he has impacted through his commitment to safety.”
Hall started his career as an enlisted helicopter mechanic and crew chief in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. After 12 years and multiple overseas deployments with the Marines, he entered the civilian world of helicopter maintenance. He obtained his Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) license and went to work for Burnside-Ott as a contractor at Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Santa Rosa County, Fla. From there, Hall was hired by ERA Helicopters and worked in Louisiana in the petroleum industry. He then transitioned to the air ambulance industry in 1992 when he joined Air Methods, and he has remained with the company since. March of 2019 marked his 50th year in helicopter maintenance.
During his career with Air Methods, Hall has worked as lead mechanic at three bases. He also served as program aviation manager for MedCenter Air in Charlotte, and as Air Methods southeastern regional area maintenance manager. After nearly ten years in the management world, Hall decided to return to his passion and took on the role of traveling relief mechanic. He then returned to Charlotte to assume his current position as lead mechanic for Atrium Health’s MedCenter Air.
“I am honored to receive this award from the FAA and appreciate the support of my family, friends and colleagues,” said Hall. “I have seen many changes during the past 50 years and have witnessed incredible advancements in the air medical industry. Maintenance safety practices have improved, and the technological evolution of the aircraft has been amazing. I’ve also enjoyed working with my fellow crewmembers and passing along what I have learned during my career. I look forward to continuing this work.”
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