April 2, 2020 by NVVF

“One of the first to pilot the 747s”

Melvin (Mel) Taylor was born October 17, 1929 in Greenford, Ohio. Mel was an only child and his parents were Mabel and Charles Taylor. As a young man he assisted a Contractor in building a small airport (Elser Airport) in North Lima, Ohio and in exchange the Contractor taught him how to fly. He obtained his student pilots license on his sixteenth birthday in 1945. The next day he obtained his student driver’s license. Mel attended Ohio State University from 1948 until 1950 with a major of Business Administration. In October 1952 Mel entered the Air Force Cadet Primary Training Program at Hondo Air Force Base in Hondo, Texas. Later, he took Advanced Training at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force on October 25, 1952.

During the Korean War he was assigned as Aircraft Commander with a combat crew to a C-119, (Fairchild Flying Box Car). His unit was then assigned to fly missions in Korea, Japan and Danang, Vietnam from 1952 to 1954.

After the war, Mel was transferred to Evreux, France in 1955 to fly missions in support of the Marshal Plan which had been replaced by the Mutual Security Act. The Mutual Security Act provided economic and technical assistance to help the recovery of the European countries that joined the Organization for European Economic Co-operation. The main goal of the Mutual Security Act was to help poor countries develop and to contain the spread of communism.

After duty in France, Mel returned to Ardmore Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma and was discharged from the Air Force on October 24, 1955.

In 1956 he was hired as a pilot by Pan American World Airways at Idlewild International Airport.

Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) was the principal and largest international air carrier and unofficial flag carrier of the United States from 1927 until December 4, 1991.Pan Am was founded on March 14, 1927 by two Air Corps Majors Henry “Hap” Arnold and Carl A. Spaatz, later to become famous American Generals of World War II as a counterbalance to the German-owned Colombian carrier SCADTA. Pan Am ceased operations in December 1991 and its collapse has been attributed to a combination of corporate mismanagement, government indifference to protecting its prime international carrier, and flawed regulatory policy.

Over the next 33 years Mel piloted DC-3s, DC-6s, DC-7s, Boeing Stratocruisers’ 337, 707, and 747.  During his flying career, Mel logged over 22,000 flight hours covering the World – North, South, East and West and around the world.


Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines required mandatory retirement for pilots at the age of 60-years old. Mel reluctantly retired in 1989 from a job that he loved.
Mel plans to have the following poem on his tombstone:

High Flight
“Oh’ I have slipped the surly bounds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark, or even eagle flew-
And while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
By John Gillespie Magee Jr

MELVIN C. TAYLOR was last modified: August 27th, 2020 by NVVF

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