Longtime Upstate master aircraft mechanic rides in WWII fighter - FOX Carolina 21

Longtime Upstate master aircraft mechanic rides in WWII fighter plane

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Bill Kendall and daughter Dawn (Courtesy: Michael Martin) Bill Kendall and daughter Dawn (Courtesy: Michael Martin)
Kendall in P-51 Mustang (Courtesy: Michael Martin) Kendall in P-51 Mustang (Courtesy: Michael Martin)
WOODRUFF, SC (FOX Carolina) -

After more than five decades as an aircraft maintenance technician, Upstate veteran Bill Kendall was honored with the ride of a lifetime.

Kendall served as a mechanic in the Air Force during the Korean War, working on numerous models of bombers and fighter planes including the P-51 Mustang. In 1953 after his discharge from the military, Kendall continued his career in aircraft maintenance as a civilian.

He earned his Federal Aviation Administration Airframe and Powerplant certificate in 1961.

Kendall also taught industrial maintenance technology at Greenville Technical College, where he helped establish the Aircraft Maintenance Technology program. He even helped design a new hangar to train future technicians when the program's size increased.

In the spring of 2016, Kendall was honored with the Charles Taylor award from the FAA, which recognizes senior mechanics for lifetime accomplishments.

On Sunday, Kendall received another honor. The longtime mechanic's distinguished career was celebrated with a ride on a vintage fighter plane he knows well - a P-51 Mustang.

The flight took off from Triple Tree Aerodrome in Woodruff, watched by Kendall's wife Judy, daughter Dawn Kendall Martin and son-in-law Michael Martin.

"We are so proud of him," Michael Martin said. "There was a lot of laughter. There were some tears of joy. Memories shared today that will last a lifetime."

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