Technical College of the Lowcountry aviation instructor Pete Semetis was presented with The Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award from the Federal Aviation Administration in a ceremony on TCL’s Beaufort Campus on July 18.
The Master Mechanic Award is the most prestigious award presented by the FAA and recognizes the lifetime accomplishments of senior mechanics. 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.
Semetis’s aviation career spans more than 50 years. He began at age 14, when he was the only student selected from his district in New York City to attend the Aviation High School in Queens, N.Y. After graduating, he went to work for Pan American Airways as a mechanic and later as a production supervisor.
Pete also served in the U.S. Navy; worked for Evergreen International Airlines; owned and operated one of the largest repair stations at JFK Airport; and taught aviation courses at S.U.N.Y. Semetis joined TCL in 2013.
Since then, the college’s aviation programs have grown tremendously. TCL houses a new aviation lab complete with an operational Cessna 150, a JT-60 jet engine and a variety of high-tech aviation maintenance and manufacturing equipment.
In addition to offering courses in FAA and FCC licensing, the college has recently launched programs in aviation maintenance and structural mechanics.