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Aircraft Maintenance Technicians, US And UK  
User currently offlineAloha717200 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4452 posts, RR: 15
Posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3576 times:

I had posted a topic previously about other aviation careers, but I'm curious about this one specificially at the moment as there is a degree on offer by my university for Aircraft Maintenance.

Here's what I'd like to know. I've never really been interested in mechanic work, but I've always been interested in aviation. what I'm wondering is if an interest in aviation makes it worth it to pursue a career in aircraft maintenance. I'm really on the fence here as I'm not entirely sure what it's like to be an aircraft maintenance tech, whether thats just Airframe Certificate or A&P. Also there's a chance, because my fiancee is Scottish, that in the future someday I'd have to move to the UK and get re-certified. Does anyone here know what goes into the process of transfering your A&P qualifications to UK certiifications to continue working in that field if I were to move?

But the main issue is decided whether or not to try this out. I suppose the decision would be easy if I had, say, an interest in auto mechanics as a foundation but I really don't. I just love aircraft. Would that love of airplanes make being a mechanic on them something enjoyable and fun?

What would you say is the most difficult part of this career? What is most enjoyable? Any trade-offs doing this? If I didn't become an aircraft mech then I wouldnt mind working as a lineman again but that doesn't require a degree at all and as far as I know the pay is low (my lineman employment was a 2 week intership for a small local FBO).

The alternative is going for an academic degree. I'm seriously considering double-majoring, but if i do it that way I'd only get as far as my Airframe certificate before having to stop my maintenance training for a year to take my upper division academic courses, then return to it a year later. that's if I wanna graduate in 4-5 years.

If i take 6 years or more to go through school then I'd attain my academic degree first, aircraft maintenance second. Trying to decide which route is best to take. My fiancee is an animator and my school is not anywhere near any animation jobs so the longer I take to get through school here the longer her career is put on hold. Anyone have any suggestions for me?

[Edited 2010-01-23 23:01:06]

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15692 posts, RR: 26
Reply 1, posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3572 times:



Quoting Aloha717200 (Thread starter):
The alternative is going for an academic degree

I'm probably not an expert, but aren't there some programs that are an academic degree in aircraft maintenance? I think it would be like Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) or something like that.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineAloha717200 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4452 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3564 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):

I'm probably not an expert, but aren't there some programs that are an academic degree in aircraft maintenance? I think it would be like Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) or something like that.


Oh, allow me to clarify, sorry.


For aircraft maintenance at my university, you can get an Airframe Certificate, Airframe and Powerplant Certificate, or Associate of Applied Science degree in Aircraft Maintenance, which requires some academic classes but none that are related to my other fields of interest.

I'm interested in Geology and Astronomy, and if I were to double major I'd be picking Geology because an Astronomy degree isn't available at my school.


An alternative is a Bachelor of Applied Science/Technology in Aircraft Maintenance. For this degree you must take the aviation courses first, complete your AAS degree in Aircraft Mech, and then take upper division courses approved by committee with an explanation as to what your career goal is.

I'm really not sure how to link Geology and Aircraft Maintenance together except to say that they're both major interests of mine! But the BAS/BAT would take me 6 years to complete. A double major would also take me 6 years to complete. Airframe Cert with Geology B.S. would take 4-6 years, not sure if I'd want to stop at just getting the airframe cert though.

So my pathways for University are:

Option 1: AAS (A&P Cert) in Aircraft Maintenance (with lower division academics) followed by upper division academics for a 4-year Bachelor of Applied Science/Tech in Aircraft Maintenance. (Upper division courses could be Geology related). Would have to justify the connection. 4-6 years

Option 2: Airframe Cert in year 1, followed by Geology Degree, possibly returning to complete the powerplant aspect after completing upper division geology courses. 4-6 years

Option 3: Earn Geology degree first, then take Aircraft Maintenance afterwards, earning a double major: B.S. Geology and AAS Aircraft Maintenance. 6 years.

Option 4: Just do a Geology degree and drop aircraft maintenance, take a different kind of aviation job to satisfy my aviation passions. 4 years

[Edited 2010-01-23 23:15:15]

User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15692 posts, RR: 26
Reply 3, posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3550 times:



Quoting Aloha717200 (Reply 2):

That makes sense now.

Quoting Aloha717200 (Reply 2):
I'm really not sure how to link Geology and Aircraft Maintenance together except to say that they're both major interests of mine!

Easy. No aircraft maintenance means that you will probably get well acquainted with the local geology.  Wink



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineAloha717200 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4452 posts, RR: 15
Reply 4, posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 3542 times:



Quoting BMI727 (Reply 3):
Easy. No aircraft maintenance means that you will probably get well acquainted with the local geology.

Actually that does make me wonder about the intensity of the training. They told me a lot of students take aircraft maintenance during the day, and then academic classes at night to fulfill the requirements for their AAS degree. So I'm assuming that the work done still allows time for additional studies beyond maintenance. what I do know is that I cannot take my upper division, advanced geology classes while learning maintenance...because they don't have night classes for the upper divisions. All maintenance classes last until 3PM every weekday. So if I want to study both aviation and geology at once I can only go as far as the Airframe Cert before I'd need to pause aircraft maintenance for a while and focus on my Geology degree. Thats if I want to complete school faster.

If I can wait additional time to spend 6 years in school then I can do the BAS/BAT or double major and just focus on one at a time.


User currently offlineTristarSteve From Sweden, joined Nov 2005, 3971 posts, RR: 34
Reply 5, posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 3469 times:



Quoting Aloha717200 (Thread starter):
Also there's a chance, because my fiancee is Scottish, that in the future someday I'd have to move to the UK and get re-certified. Does anyone here know what goes into the process of transfering your A&P qualifications to UK certiifications to continue working in that field if I were to move?

Basically you have to start again. To get an EASA licence you have to take all the exams. Your US experience would of course help, but does not alleviate you from taking the exams. It is the same going the other way.


User currently offlineAloha717200 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4452 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 3442 times:



Quoting TristarSteve (Reply 5):
Basically you have to start again. To get an EASA licence you have to take all the exams. Your US experience would of course help, but does not alleviate you from taking the exams. It is the same going the other way.

So with the proper training, if you just sit the exams for the EASA and pass you'd be ok? I was thinking I'd have to go back through some additional training as well.


User currently offlineDalmd88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2532 posts, RR: 14
Reply 7, posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 3189 times:

My advice as an AMT is either Geology or AMT. Both just doesn't make sence for a degree. Work in one field and hobby in the other.

The AMT classes take a lot of class room/lab hours. When I was at ERAU they took a solid five hour block of time 5 days a week. That was for just 12 credits. Most students then took one or two academic classes every semester. In five semesters they could complete the AS degree. There were only three BS options that go well with the AMT; Business, Avionics, or Flight. All are about another 4-5 semesters to complete. I did the Business option and later went back part time to do the Avionics.

Being an AMT means very odd hours. I worked third shift for close to 20 years. Getting weekends and holidays off is hard. I right now have W-F off. That is the airline world. I've been layed off a couple of times and ran from a couple of jobs before the doors got locked. I've had bounced pay checks, and a company that pocketed our tax money and health insurance premiums.

Go get a Geology degree. Get a job for an oil company, buy an airplane.


User currently offlineAloha717200 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4452 posts, RR: 15
Reply 8, posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3049 times:

Yeah the classes work the exact same way at my university, except you have a wider range of choices for your BS as long as you can justify the connection. If you can't, then you can double major.

I'm really torn inside over this because I know I love aircraft, and working for an oil company doesn't interest me. If I'm doing Geology it'd be planetary geology hopefully, as that's where my interest in that field lies. But aviation is always my #1. And ive only got a couple more weeks to decide or I have to wait two years, as I'm doing a study abroad in Year 2 and can't do maintenance that year.


User currently offlineDl1011 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 386 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 2924 times:

http://www.easa.eu.int/ws_prod/g/doc...egulation/reg_2042_2003_Part66.pdf

That is a link to the EASA page on mtc requirements. There is a pretty big difference in how the FAA and EASA approach aircraft maintenance and EASA is a lot tougher to become fully qualified. With the FAA, when you get the A&P, you are a certified AMT. If you look through that link, you will see that there are multiple levels of certification and there are also type ratings. I believe that EASA limits the mtc people to three type ratings.

I finished A&P school just about 20 years ago (ouch) and I went to a community college. The program was Mon - Fri, 8am to about 3pm for four semesters. For most of those 2 years, I worked a full time job on swing shift so finding time to study was interesting.

Once I got a job with an airline, it was midnight shift with mid-week off days like Tues - Wed or Mon - Tues. Forget weekends and holidays, those are for "normal" people. Your social and family life will suffer. It took years and years to get part of a weekend off and even after 17 years, I had no chance of day shift with weekends off. I can count the number of times that I had Christmas off during those 17 years on one hand, probably on 2 or 3 fingers!

I was very lucky because I was never forced to move or got layed off. That is VERY rare, many AMT's face relocation, the threat of relocation, lay off or the threat of lay off on a regular basis.

On the plus side, I did enjoy the job for a long time. I worked with some fantastic people and got to travel like a rich person. Weekend in London? No problem. Lunch in Hawaii? Yep, got to do that. Loads of fun but working nights is rough on the old bod.

Airlines (I speak of US airlines) will continue to push for lower and lower mtc costs. That means outsourcing, threatening to outsource and intense pressure to get the job done as fast as possible. Some AMT's will sign off work that has not been done and that makes it really tough on the AMT's that try to do a proper job. It got ugly enough that I decided to leave the company that I thought I would retire from. Once again, I was very fortunate to score an opportunity for a better position at a better company.

If anyone asked me for my advice about a career as an AMT, I would say run away. Run very fast and very far. Now, if someone wanted to get an A&P to work on their own airplane or as a hobby, that is a different story. But I would suggest as strongly as I could that to avoid working for an airline would be a good thing. If someone decided that being an A&P for an airline is what they really want to do, then I would suggest obtaining as much education as possible so that as many options as possible were available. That way, when the airlines decide to screw them over they can find another job.

Hope I didn't come across to negative but I'm just trying to point out how I see the industry.

Good luck with your decision, I'm sure you will find what works best for you. Europe is great, if you can get over here, DO IT!


User currently offlineTu154m From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 677 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 2883 times:

Stay away from the FAA A&P unless you plan on living in the USA for the rest of your life. It cannont transfer anywhere. The EASA license is good just about anywhere-Europe, Austrailia-NZ, Middle East, Japan, etc, etc. The rest of the world doesn't recognize the A&P at all.


CEOs should swim with cement flippers!
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2851 times:

Of all the mechanics that I have worked with over the years, on a average those that carried a 4 year did not know what end of the wrench to use. The best advice is to get your hands dirty


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineBeakerLTN From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2009, 291 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 2791 times:



Quoting EMBQA (Reply 11):
The best advice is to get your hands dirty

That's exactly what I'd go for, although it doesn't seem very fasionable these days to say such a thing.

I'm on the test engineering side of avionics and I started at the bottom, no I mean really, right at the very depths of the electronics industry. The company I worked for sent me to college and the rest was history. As part of my job, I now mentor new graduates and their level of practical knowledge is of some considerable concern. You really can't beat 'getting in there'. The only benefit I would say to a degree is that when you do 'get in there' you can equate what you see to what you learnt, rather than the other way around.

So for me, as mad as it sounds, start doing what you enjoy, say you enjoy it and if you're any good your company will help you move forward and give you the backing you need. Needless to say, this probably changes country-country though.



300/319/320/321/330/732/733/734/73G/738/744/772/77W/146/EMB135/EMB145
User currently offlineAloha717200 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4452 posts, RR: 15
Reply 13, posted (4 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 2750 times:



Quoting Dl1011 (Reply 9):
If anyone asked me for my advice about a career as an AMT, I would say run away. Run very fast and very far

Thank you for a very detailed and informative post. After reading that I'm definitely having my second thoughts as family is very important to me. but I wonder, what are the prospects of non-airline AMT jobs? Is it easy to find work for an FBO for example? If i had to move to another city, would it simply be a matter of going to the local airports and putting in a resume? Or is it a lot harder to get into a mechanic position?


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