• For Airline Mechanic, 91, the Sky Is One of Many Limits

    Azriel Blackman, an airline mechanic for American Airlines, is not allowed to climb ladders, drive on the airfield at Kennedy International Airport or even use any tools.

    That’s understandable — Mr. Blackman turns 92 next month.

    But those constraints have not stopped him from showing up to work at a job he started in an era when trans-Atlantic commercial flights were novel feats.

    “He loves coming to work,” said Robert Needham, Mr. Blackman’s boss and the station manager for the airline’s New York maintenance base. “His work ethic is something I’d love every one of my 368 mechanics here to have.”

    Five days a week, Mr. Blackman drives himself from his home in Queens Village to the airport long before sunup and well before his 5 a.m. start time. His job as crew chief is to review paperwork detailing what maintenance has been completed and what remains to be done on 17 jetliners that are kept overnight at the airport. Then, wearing a lime-green vest and clutching a paper containing a list of planes and service requests, he starts his walk through a massive hangar, often passing below an enormous mural on the wall featuring his portrait surrounded by four types of aircraft flown by American.

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