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AMT/A&P And Automobile Techs...Comparison  
User currently offlineFlyfisher1976 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 804 posts, RR: 2
Posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 3584 times:
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I should start off by saying that this is in no means meant to degrade or flame auto techs in any way. It's just that I have had the recent an unique experience of being employed as both an A&P and most recently and Automotive Technician. Both positions equally challenging in their own right.

I got laid off earlier this year by a defunct regional airline. Due to the recession and lack of jobs in my preferred field of aviation, I was forced to consider a job in automotive maintenance until something in my preferred field came along. As an A&P of approximately six years, I was in for an unanticipated culture shock entering into this unfarmiliar field. The transfer from what was a skilled A&P mechanic to an inexperienced Auto mechanic has been a rather difficult experience.

Getting told that "I don't know anything", being called a "D maybe C mechanic" among other things, has been a tough pill to swallow, especially with my accomplishments and experience level in aviation.

However, I have come to realize that both jobs require similar skill levels in different areas, not all of which are very transferrable. I have found it nearly impossible to communicate or find common ground with my co-workers because of this. They are all cool guys to work with...but there is definetly a disconnect somewhere.

For example: When aan auto tech works on a car, he has both online and paper manuals that detail step-by-step troubleshooting trees for EVERY concivable system on that particular automobile. I would have KILLED for that kind of reference material when working on Beech 1900D's. While there were troubleshooting guides for some systems, the vast majority of troubleshooting involved maticulously tracing individual wires, armed with nothing more than an multimeter, pages from the WDM and some hilighters.

Anyway, this is merely a reflection from someone who has now been on both sides of the fence. Any input or comments from people who have been in a simliar situation are welcome.

7 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 3581 times:

yup...and auto mechanics are not licensed, don't have the FAA breathing over their shoulder and are not liable for their work.....oh yea, and they get paid more at most shops.


"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13797 posts, RR: 63
Reply 2, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 3562 times:

I've rather seen attitude problems with former car mechanics now working as unlicenced mechanics in aircraft maintenance. The biggest problem IMO, is to make them aware of the fact that ANYTHING they do on the aircraft has to be documented and that the person signing for the work can be held liable even ten years later.
Another thing was to make them understand that an aircraft can't just stop at the curb if there is a problrm and that all work has to be spot on qualitywise, no sloppy work permitted, the work HAS to be carried out as per manual and only approved parts are to be installed.
We recently had a newhire, who got caught lying to the guy signing for the work about having performed work (in his case lube jobs, always disliked by the mechs having to carry them out, but very important for the airworthiness), which in fact he didn't. After the second incident of this type he got fired (he got a warning after the first time).

Jan


User currently onlineT prop From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1017 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 3545 times:



Quoting EMBQA (Reply 1):
yup...and auto mechanics are not licensed, don't have the FAA breathing over their shoulder and are not liable for their work.....oh yea, and they get paid more at most shops.

That's funny, besides being an A&P I'm an ASE certified Master Auto Tech and to run a legit shop we have to be state licensed here. If I did a brake job and the brakes fail because I screwed up and people get killed, you think I'm not liable in anyway? Hey thanks for the great info...  Yeah sure

One of the reasons I switched to aviation was to get away from the general public and all the idiots that walk into your shop. I'd rather deal with the FAA than the public anytime.


User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3541 times:



Quoting T prop (Reply 3):

You'll get sued...sure, but as an AP you get a certified letter inviting you to Washington DC to talk in front of a air crash investigating board.

Quoting T prop (Reply 3):
That's funny, besides being an A&P I'm an ASE certified Master Auto Tech and to run a legit shop we have to be state licensed here.

You know as well as I do that's not the same.



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineWN700Driver From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3512 times:

Yeah liability is a big deal here.

I realize auto mechs can theoretically get sued. But I'm sure it is insanely hard to make a case and win it. Who's to say you didn't drain your own oil an hour after you got it from the shop? I'd be very surprised to hear about a case like that ever being won.

That said, I've heard some pretty stupid things at auto shops before (like being told it is a good idea to machine my brakes. Interesting as the discs were already a good mil or two thinner than manufacturer specs.) That and I know for a fact that most shops will cut every corner they can. I can understand this --it makes no sense to work one vehicle when two similar jobs can be done in the same amount of time, and the same number of labor hours can still be charged.

Hell, I've even seen corners cut at my airline. I was once told by my lead that I was "littering" because the seal I was putting over a panel edge was just going to blow off in a few flight hours anyway. Though this is true, I tend to go by the workcard anyway. Hell, I'm hourly RON what do I care how long it takes, right?
I guess we all have our own cultures, but from what I can see, there usually isn't as much attention to detail in car shops. I hear the guys at European Dealerships tend to make some good scratch though.

Oh! Also, most of those guys aren't union either,  Wink


User currently offlineBoeing767mech From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 1021 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3495 times:



Quoting EMBQA (Reply 4):
Quoting T prop (Reply 3):
That's funny, besides being an A&P I'm an ASE certified Master Auto Tech and to run a legit shop we have to be state licensed here.

You know as well as I do that's not the same.

Someone explain to me why the US Labor board considers an ASE auto mechanic skilled labor, and an FAA A&P/AMT mechanic is UNSKILLED labor.

David



Never under-estimate the predictably of stupidty
User currently offlineAcNDTTech From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 338 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 3453 times:

I know a lot of A&P mechanics that love to work on cars. As a matter of fact, when I need work done on my car (a Saab 9-3 turbo), the guy that I take it to was a Saab 340 mechanic at one time, now he works on Gulfstreams only. Good mechanics are hard to find, GREAT mechanics are even harder. Yes, while at work, we rib each other about each other's job, but it's only in a fun, respectful way. He's a grease monkey, I'm a crack whore.....it's all in fun. My utmost respect for all the ramprats, grease monkeys, crack whores, jet jockeys, and everybody else in this industry.....even the managers that remind me of my probation officer when I was in high school (just kidding).

As for unskilled or semi-skilled, I'd like to see one of the people that classifies the jobs for the Dept. of Labor try to work on a plane (hell, or even a car). They'd be lost. I bet it would take them forever to get me a couple yards of flight line, or find where we keep the prop wash.  Wink


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