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Do Technicians Make Good Pilots?  
User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1715 posts, RR: 18
Posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2532 times:

-That is a question I have always wondered about.

Considering that they already know almost everything about the aircraft, wouldn't it be easy for them to take a pilot license?
And let's say that the technician is type trained on the 737, would he also be able to fly it? And yes, I know that's a very unrealistic scenario.

Would the passengers feel safer that the pilot is also a technician?

I know that this is a rather silly question, but still...  Smile


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23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDL787932ER From United States of America, joined exactly 9 years ago today! , 597 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2519 times:

Yes.




F L Y D E L T A J E T S
User currently offlineRJ111 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2500 times:

Skills needed to be a good pilot:

Hand Eye co-ord
Spacial Awareness
Multitasking
Accuracy
Decision making
Leadership

So based on that i wouldn't think there would be a huge correlation necessarily.


User currently offlineJetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1662 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2481 times:
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I have both an A&P and a pilot’s license.

My A&P training give me a better understanding of an airplane’s operating systems.

When I went through JetStar flight training, I was able to understand and learn the complexities of the 4 engine Jetstar’s fuel and electrical systems, while some of my other pilot classmates were having problems with these systems. For instance in the electrical system, from my mechanical training, I know how an electrical systems operates, so all I needed to know is how it is applied to the JetStar.

As far as the actual flying of the airplane, I would say my A&P license only helped me just a little bit. This is more stick and rudder and this comes from flight training and as stated, hand and eye coordination, and some people are better than others in this area.

I knew and flew with pilots who had absolutely great flying skills, but a screwdriver in their hands was a dangerous weapon.

JetStar


User currently offlineCanadianNorth From Canada, joined Aug 2002, 3395 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2455 times:

There is a relatively popular saying out there, "The only thing worse than a mechanic with a pilots license is a pilot with a toolbox"

However, although I've never actually flown a plane, I'd say they're pretty different. As JetStar and others have mentioned being an AME / A&P / Whatever it's called where you might be from would make it a lot easier to understand your aircraft and its systems, but I can't see it making much impact on the actual flying skills.


CanadianNorth



What could possibly go wrong?
User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16907 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2419 times:

Gordon Bethune former CEO of CO was a Navy Mechanic, then was a mechanic with Braniff working his way up to the position of the Vice President of Maintenance and Engineering. He served in a similar role at Piedmont before moving to Boeing where he was in charge of the 737 and 757 production at Renton. Bethune holds a commercial pilot certificate with type ratings in the Douglas DC-3, Boeing 757, and Boeing 767.

He would fly CO's 757 and 767 deliveries home from Seattle to Houston.



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User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1715 posts, RR: 18
Reply 6, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2409 times:



Quoting CanadianNorth (Reply 4):
However, although I've never actually flown a plane, I'd say they're pretty different. As JetStar and others have mentioned being an AME / A&P / Whatever it's called where you might be from would make it a lot easier to understand your aircraft and its systems, but I can't see it making much impact on the actual flying skills.

Just to make things straight, but what does AME and A&P actually mean? What type of mechanic are they?

In the EASA countries, the European Union i.e. We have three levels of maintenance crew:

EASA Category A = A regular aircraft mechanic.
EASA Category B1 = Aircraft technician, i.e a more complex type of mechanic, the one who is in command.
EASA Category B2 = Avionics, and Electrical systems technician.

I'm currently studying for a B1 license, and I'll finish in 2011, after that I'll have to work for at least two years as a mechanic, in order to become a fully qualified technician.



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User currently offlineJetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1662 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 2369 times:
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Quoting LH4116 (Reply 6):
Just to make things straight, but what does AME and A&P actually mean? What type of mechanic are they?

An A&P license in the US stands for Airframe & Powerplant, back in the days when I first thought about becoming an aircraft mechanic, it was called an A&E, Airframe & Engine. It was changed to A&P because APU’s even though it is an engine, are not considered powerplants, so APU’s now come under the Airframe license.

It is not uncommon for an individual to have just an A or P, they are separate licenses and you take each test separately, some mechanics who come out of the military, say as a jet mechanic may qualify only for the P license, and they would have to go to a civilian school and get the A license.

Although an A&P license allows you to work on all types of airplanes, there are other regulations that pertain to training and experience before that person can work and sign off on the job.

JetStar


User currently offlineThebatman From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 851 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 2360 times:
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I'd have to agree with Jetstar here...I know several fellow A&P's that are pilots, and the knowledge that you posses when you work the airplane and fly it is downright frightening. A couple of guys have an IA rating and have their own airplane. Just think of the cost savings when your airplane has something wrong with it, and you take it to YOU.

However, like Jetstar said, I know pilots that don't know the difference between a screwdriver and a lawnmower! They're still good pilots. On the flip side, I know guys that are fantastic technicians, extremely sharp guys, but don't have the coordination to throw a football properly.

Learning both sides of the operation (flight ops and maintenance) is extremely cool.



A319,A320,B727,B732/3/5/7/8/9,B742/4,B752/3,B762/3,B772,CRJ2/7,DC9/MD80,DC10,E145/70
User currently offlineHiflyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2177 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 2325 times:

Back a few hundred years when there were Flt engineers riding side saddle in the cockpit some carriers in the US required them to be an A/P...the original National was one...theory being that it made every station a mtc station of sorts. That gave way to the position being a pilot position...for the new hire....and then with two man cockpits and lots more automation it went buhbye. I've known a few left seaters in the majors that held a a/p...sometimes good...they would work with mtc on an issue...sometimes bad...they would 'find' problems and cause issues.....

User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5944 posts, RR: 11
Reply 10, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 2228 times:

As a technician that works for an airline that HAS pilot/mechanics, allow me to say YES.
Now, our pilots don't work on our airplanes- they work on their own personal airplanes.
But the quality of logbook entries is VASTLY improved with the pilots that are also mechanics.
The pure pilots write up the most useless squawks- "We heard a funny noise during cruise."
What good does that do me for troubleshooting? NONE AT ALL.
The pilots who are also mechanics, however, will describe the identical event as, "We heard a moosing sound from rows 5 to 12, during climbout and cruise, with the AC packs set on full cold."

Or how about this situation:
Pilot: "We felt a vibration." When verbally questioned, they didn't remember when.
Pilot Mech: "We felt a vibration during a left hand bank on climbout with leading edges in transit."


Those are both REAL situations that I've had to deal with on the ground.


Thus, in my professional opinion, ALL pilots should be required to have mechanics licenses.
And, I'd even consider making that the other way around, too- ALL mechanics should have at least a private pilot's license... maybe.


User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5944 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 2220 times:



Quoting RJ111 (Reply 2):
Skills needed to be a good pilot:

Hand Eye co-ord
Spacial Awareness
Multitasking
Accuracy
Decision making
Leadership

So based on that i wouldn't think there would be a huge correlation necessarily.

I had decided against acknowledging your comment, but I've changed my mind.

First of all, THANKS for your overwhelming confidence in maintenance techs.  Yeah sure
Secondly, you've clearly not spent much time in a maintenance shop.

Being a mechanic (a good one anyway), requires both good hand-eye coord AND good blidn-sight coord, considering there's a few things we do on aircraft that we can't even see. And you only have so many hands to turn a wrench, hold a part, and hold a mirror. Granted, I have seen guys using their teeth to hold telescoping extension mirrors, but still. Gets tricky.
Spatial Awareness (or were you going for special awareness?)? Yep, we need that too, albeit in a different sense than a pilot.
Multitasking? Again, if you think that mechanics don't multitask, you've NEVER been in a maintenance shop.
Accuracy? That's a no brainer. If I haphazardly trim an engine without accuracy, you're not going to make it off the ground before you run out of runway!
Decision making? Let's see, I believe I make decision every day.... duh....
Leadership? I know some mechanics who are great leaders, and some pilots who are HORRIBLE ones, with no control over their cockpit, and no regard for CRM. That goes both ways- you find both good and bad leaders in any job.


So, unless you were being sarcastic, I'd invite you to reconsider your allocation of virtually no talent at all to those in my side of this industry.


User currently offlineRJ111 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 2175 times:



Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 11):
So, unless you were being sarcastic, I'd invite you to reconsider your allocation of virtually no talent at all to those in my side of this industry.

Well if you are going to be that loose with each point you could compare making a cup of tea with piloting.

Of course there is some overlapping. Definitely accuracy. I don't think you can really say that mechanics are required to do some of the other things i listed to anywhere near the same extent though.


User currently offlineThebatman From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 851 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2124 times:
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I'll have to agree with brother AA737-823. You've obviously never set foot in a maintenance shop.

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 11):
First of all, THANKS for your overwhelming confidence in maintenance techs.  
Secondly, you've clearly not spent much time in a maintenance shop.

AMEN brother. People don't realize what we do every day.



A319,A320,B727,B732/3/5/7/8/9,B742/4,B752/3,B762/3,B772,CRJ2/7,DC9/MD80,DC10,E145/70
User currently offlinePilotaydin From Turkey, joined Sep 2004, 2539 posts, RR: 51
Reply 14, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2117 times:



Quoting LH4116 (Thread starter):
Would the passengers feel safer that the pilot is also a technician?

in life....the best and the worst of anything make a mistake....there really is no such thing as a good pilot, because there never really have been any criteria....what shall be base it on..

only one pilot gets to land on the same runway, in the same a/c at the same time and the same conditions...so since no one else can make the same landing, in an experimental sense...there really is no comparing anyone to anything...
we should never look for generelazing factors in any industry...this is what slows us down

im know some people who are doctors...that could make amazing pilots...and i know some plots who should stay the hell away from the cockpit  Smile
there is no race, age job or background to being a pilot...people THINK there are...but i stand firmly there is no connection..
you can take the best engineers in the world from boeing, or airbus, stick em in a simulator...and they could still crash...freeze up, cant decide...where you come from, doesnt decide where you're going, sorry to ruin the ending LOL



The only time there is too much fuel onboard, is when you're on fire!
User currently offlineTheginge From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 1135 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2096 times:

The Technicians or Engineers that certainly could fly a plane are the ones who maintain the Flight Simulators that Flight Training organistions or Airlines use to train their pilots.

Obviously not all of them could fly to the standards of regular pilots they could certainly Take Off, fly a Ciruit and land again with no problem!

But these Engineers are not the ones who fix the actual planes though, although I imagine some of them used to!


User currently offlineDaBuzzard From Canada, joined Sep 2007, 136 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2051 times:



Quoting LH4116 (Reply 6):
but what does AME

AME = Aircraft Maintainence Engineer in Canada. Airframe, powerplants, electrical......pretty much everything but avionics (aside from swapping out LRU's)

Has authority to sign off on most work, sounds pretty close to an EASA B1 license.


User currently offlineFrmrCAPCADET From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1739 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2041 times:

I suspect that pilot skill are a lot more related to being an athlete than a technician. This does not speak to any particular individual, but only as a group. The skill set of athletes is pretty impressive, and for a lot of them it also involves a lot of intelligence. Among those skills is self-confidence, coolness under pressure, ability to make decisions on the run. ATCs seem to me to have similar but not identical skill sets. It would be interesting to see a physioligical/psychological study of both.


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User currently offlineRJ111 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2037 times:



Quoting Thebatman (Reply 13):
I'll have to agree with brother AA737-823. You've obviously never set foot in a maintenance shop.

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 11):
First of all, THANKS for your overwhelming confidence in maintenance techs.
Secondly, you've clearly not spent much time in a maintenance shop.

AMEN brother. People don't realize what we do every day.

I'm aware that mechanics are a very important part of keeping aircraft in the air.

But i don't really see any controversy in saying that they are two very different disciplines, and i'm a little baffled as to why the pair of you are getting in such a tizz.


User currently offlinePlatinumfoota From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 556 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2010 times:



Quoting CanadianNorth (Reply 4):
"The only thing worse than a mechanic with a pilots license is a pilot with a toolbox"

 rotfl   rotfl   rotfl  I have tears in my eyes!! This is going to make for some funny shirts I will give my pilot friends. We always have this discussion with my friends, and we agree on one thing, We both make work easier for each other if we do our jobs right.



Never forget United 93
User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1715 posts, RR: 18
Reply 20, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1989 times:



Quoting FrmrCAPCADET (Reply 17):
I suspect that pilot skill are a lot more related to being an athlete than a technician. This does not speak to any particular individual, but only as a group. The skill set of athletes is pretty impressive, and for a lot of them it also involves a lot of intelligence. Among those skills is self-confidence, coolness under pressure, ability to make decisions on the run. ATCs seem to me to have similar but not identical skill sets. It would be interesting to see a physioligical/psychological study of both.

Actually, I believe that the things you mentioned match pretty well with a technician as well.

I actually saw a tv show last week, where they featured a technician doing his work.
I remember that he got the task of repairing a spring in a crew seat, at the back of a 738 that was about to depart in only 10-15 minutes, and with 150 passengers waiting inside the jetway.
The technician hadn't preformed this work before, and neither did they have time to find the proper manual.

So he had to test his way to solve the problem, with f/a's and the f/o constantly nagging on him to hurry up. As for many of us a situation like this would have made us go all nuts, after only a few minutes, but this guy maneged to stay cool, still being able to do his work, and give his co mechanic orders for spare parts.

He finally maneged to fix the seat, and the aircraft departed right on time. I must say that I was very impressed with the way he handled the situation.

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 11):

Amen to that!
Hats of for you Brother  Smile



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User currently onlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15831 posts, RR: 27
Reply 21, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1978 times:

I should start by saying that both pilots and mechanics have jobs that require more skill than the average. The guys in the hangar DID NOT just get promoted from JiffyLube, despite what the public may think.

I would say though that pilots would benefit more from technical training than technicians would from flight training. I have gone on record here before saying that pilots should at least get some engineering/mechanical training so they can at least "speak the language" to get things done more effectively. I would also think that that might stop pilots from setting off on a transcontinental flight powered by the backup battery. Because, when they say backup, they mean backup.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineAirvan00 From Australia, joined Oct 2008, 758 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1974 times:



Quoting FrmrCAPCADET (Reply 17):
ATCs seem to me to have similar but not identical skill sets. It would be interesting to see a physioligical/psychological study of both

Yes you are right. I once saw the results of a physiological/psychological study of working Pilots, Cabin crew, Military Pilots, Military ATC and Civil ATC. Apart from the Cabin crew, all the others were very close however there were differences. It was possible to look at someone’s "de-identified" chart and correctly place them in one of the 5 above groups. This method was subsequently used in the recruitment of ATC's.


User currently offlineLH4116 From Sweden, joined Aug 2007, 1715 posts, RR: 18
Reply 23, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 1830 times:

Would it be possible then for a mechanic to land an airplane?


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