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Bruce
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Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sun Jul 07, 2002 3:47 am

What does it take to be an aircraft Mechanic? I know they need to have a certification, airframe & powerplant. Are there different types of Mechanics like ones who work on engines and ones who work on cockpit instrumentation, and those who do airframe work? How do you get started in such a career (besides military)? Is there some kind of school similar to a flight school? Do you have to be a licensed pilot & able to fly?

As far as mechanics go, I only know what car & truck mechanics go thru; is an aircraft mechanic also a "dirty" job?

Can you earn decent money & how's the career outlook, especially working for one of the Majors?

bruce
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
 
Alessandro
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sun Jul 07, 2002 4:14 am

Well, read the employment adds on www.barnstormers.com and you find out
what people offer and whats wanted.
Best of luck...
From New Yorqatar to Califarbia...
 
A/c train
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sun Jul 07, 2002 8:35 am

Hi Bruce,
in the UK, usually we take the Apprenticeship route, we undergoe Aircraft Training which is trade biased, you are either,
- Avionic
- Mechanical
We study for a JAR 66 Aircraft Maintenance engineers license, we also work in the hangars to gain the practical experience required to be able to obtain the license.
B1= A+C Airframes / Engines
B2= Avionics
A= Line certifying mechanic
In the US, I think there is a place called ECAT, most of the Mechanics from the US in here I think have been through that school of A+P training.
I think the Certifying Technicians equivalent to the JAR 66 in the US is the Part 65.
Bruce, one concern is your age. Dont let this put you off though.
I applied to an Airline in England when I was 17 and I was accepted into the scheme.
The non educational requirements are usually,
- Mechanically minded
- Logical thinker
- Good trouble shooter
- A person who integrates well into a team
- A person with manual dexterity, which you will have too prove in application interviews.
Although the insight ive given you is UK/Europe biased, I think it's to a persons benefit to gain a wide range of knowledge of the industry.
Good luck with applying too wherever you do, I think the best bet is too get an Aircraft Mechanic on hear to talk too you now who has been through the A+P training, or to make an educational Reply !!,
Very best of luck, hope too see you in Mechanics overalls on a Jollie in the UK in years too come,
Kind regards and best wishes,
a/c
 
A/c train
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sun Jul 07, 2002 8:45 am

Sorry Bruce, I didn't read your post properly and only just noticed the, ' Is it a dirty job' bit.
Unless you get a license it is !, Technicians also get their hands dirty from time too time.
In short, yes, it is a dirty job, try wheelspeed transducers...... you will wear lots of Blue Latex gloves. Its a Car Mechanics job on airplanes. The requirements too be an Aircraft Mech are different and theres undoubtedly more paperwork.
Potential earnings for a Licensed Technician in the UK are in excess of 30,000 Pa. Not sure about US.
But YES, you will get very dirty and you will get covered in some of the nastiest crap you could ever imagine 'is that an exaggeration' ? Hope it doesn't put you off !! LOL
regards,
a/c
 
cdfmxtech
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sun Jul 07, 2002 1:10 pm

"Its a Car Mechanics job on airplanes."

Bravo Uniform Lima Lima Sierra Hotel India Tango
 
A/c train
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sun Jul 07, 2002 11:39 pm

Cdfmxtech,
just incase of any confusion, I will type out what I believe from my experience too be the job objective of Both a car and Aircraft Mechanic,

Motor Vehicle Mechanic- this Mechanic carrys out maintenance tasks on motor vehicles and repairs were need be. Car mechanic will also carry out modifications

Aircraft Mechanic- this mechanic carrys out maintenance tasks on Aircraft and repairs were need be. Aircraft Mechanics will also carry out modifications were told too by the manufacturer or were need be and also for customer needs.

An Aircraft Mechanics position needs more academic qualifications and will work with the following differences,
- Closer tolerances
- Work under a Licensed Technician
- Involve A LOT more paperwork
- Work under more pressure
- Involve a wider range of practical skills
- Involve A LOT more theoretical study
BUT they both carry out maintenance tasks/repairs and modifications were need be.
My advice, become a Tech and your toolkit becomes a PEN.
CDFmxtech, after learning my trade and working in an Aircraft maintenance environment, I will take your comment as ignorant and with a pinch of salt.
regards
a/c
 
LMP737
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Mon Jul 08, 2002 2:13 am

Bruce:

To answer your question "Are there different types of Mechanics like ones who just work on engines and ones who work on cockpit instrumentation, and those who do airframe work?" yes and no. If you have an A&P license you can work on airframes, engines and instrumentation. However there are some people who just have an Airframe or Powerplant license, not both. These individuals typically work in engine overhaul facility or airframe overhaul facility. Like I said there are not many people like this around.

If you work for a big airline there are two types of maintenance, line and overhaul. Line stations are at the airports which the airline flies to. Typically this is where the overnight inspections and servicing is carried out. Non-scheduled maintenance is also performed here, PCU changes, avionics troubleshooting, pack changed etc. At an airlines overhaul facility this is where C and D checks are carried out. The aircraft is basically taken apart and thoroughly inspected.

While an A&P license allows you to pretty much work on anything I notice that people tend to gavitate to something there good at. For example, someone who's good at avionics tend to stay with avionics. They don't for example get up one day and say "Hey, I think I'm going to work in the sheet metal shop today." And vice-versa.

How do you get started besides military? After you get an A&P the typically route is to work your way up. Start off in general aviation then to the commuters and then on to the airlines. Or you could try and get a job working for a company that only does heavy maintenance lie BF Goodrich.

How's the career outlook. Before 9-11 there was a shortage of A&P's. The starting pay for A&P's with no experience is low. This discourages a lot of people from even going to school to become an A&P. That's why a lot of A&P schools have shutdown in the past ten years. After 9-11 there is an artificial surplus of A&P's. Once things turn around I predict the shortage will return.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
NKP S2
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Mon Jul 08, 2002 2:30 am

Well said 'LMP737': I concurr. Pretty much answers the original question of the topic in a detailed and yet condensed manner.
 
Fokker Lover
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Mon Jul 08, 2002 8:10 am

A/c train
I think you are forgetting two small details.
I don't know of any auto mechanics who are responsible for their work over the entire life of the auto, no matter who owns it.
I also don't know of any auto mechanics who could possibly kill several hundred people with one mistake. Since I've only been doing this for twenty years. Maybe I am showing my ignorance like cdfmxtech. When I am as young as you are, I hope to be as wise.
10,000 years ago we would have eaten you. Today, we drag you along and allow you to pollute the gene pool.
 
A/c train
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Mon Jul 08, 2002 8:44 am

i agree Fokker. The fact of being responsible for many more human lives is one key difference which was most definetly important too include.
But Cdfmxtech offered an ignorant comment, that should not be supported in any way, I stated the positions of each job.
You Americans are very confrontational arnt you !!
I think this guy was looking for advice on how to enter the industry, I just gave him some of my knowledge which is most definetly not as extensive as CDF's or Fokkers or NKP's.
Please dont cherry pick comments, I stated the differences between what a Car Mechanic and an Aircraft Mechanic does. I didnt look to write an essay,
many apologies for missing out those KEY details,
regs
a/c
 
Fokker Lover
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Mon Jul 08, 2002 10:55 am

Being confrontational is just one of my many hobbies.  Smile Everbody loves a good argument, so don't take it personal. I'm really a fun loving, practical joking kind of guy. Today, after spending 8 hours stuffed into a 737 fuel tank, crawling on my belly, dragging a hose attached to a mask that was forcing cold air down my throat to keep me alive, I just didn't feel like being compared to an auto mechanic. Oh, I almost forgot. Wearing latex gloves is for pansies. ( Just don't tell anybody,that I wear them all the time.)  Innocent
10,000 years ago we would have eaten you. Today, we drag you along and allow you to pollute the gene pool.
 
apathoid
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Mon Jul 08, 2002 11:20 am

If you were my kid and you asked about being an aircraft mechanic I would slap you upside the head and tell you to do something worthwhile with your life...and I have been doing this for 15 years. You will spend your career being viewed as a liability to the airline, rather than the highly skilled asset that you really are. You will spend 10 years or more on the night shift, working every holiday and every weekend. You will make less money than the butcher at the local grocery store, yet be expected to know every nut and bolt on every system and be able to trouble shoot and fix it at the gate in less than 40 minutes without using any parts, either because you don't have them, or because your boss thinks they are too expensive to just "waste them" by putting them on an airplane. You will bathe in lovely little chemicals like benzine and Skydrol. You will be responsible for everything you sign your name to for the rest of your life...and yes, you can go to prison for it if you do something wrong, no matter how honest your mistake may have been. Don't get me wrong, the job has it rewards. But, if you are a guy with technical skills and the know how it takes to be a good aircraft mechanic, you can choose from any of a number of other trades which will pay significantly better and have much better working conditions. Guys will tell you that you can work your way into the majors and expect to make $30 an hour within a few years, but that is not reality for a majority of new mechanics. Most will end up slutting at some FBO for $12 an hour until they close the doors and you roll your toolbox over to the next podunk FBO for the next couple of years. Don't do it...Get out while you still can...I know I will take some shit for this and other more "perfect" mechanics will say I am just bitter and if I hate it so much I should get out and blah...blah...blah... I don't particularly care what their opinion is...they don't walk in my shoes. I just think you need to go into this with your eyes wide open. Aviation maintenance is not like the "Hallmark" commercial image American Airlines TV ads show. Honest guys will agree that most of what I said is true. Think long and hard about it, and then go do something else with your life. Good luck!
 
cdfmxtech
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A/C Train

Mon Jul 08, 2002 2:04 pm

Ease up man!!!
You've gotta laugh about the creativity. How else can you curse and get away with it!!!

Listen, obviously I disagree but I didn't know you would be so hurt by those comments. Now "we Americans are so confrontational." Sheeesh
I didn't say A/C train is full of sh*t, I just thought your statement was BS.
-----------------------------
Bruce
As for the original question, I'll say this. If you are interested in a career in aircraft maintenance, just be sure you love airplanes. if you do, I say go for it man. They are negatives to every job and I could give you the real low-down on this job...but it would take too long. There are some days (not many because I really love me job) - that I feel exactly what Apathoid wrote. But you know what, I wouldn't trade it for nothing.

I can look at everything he said, and some of it is true. But it is not like that everywhere, and IMOHO, it is not the norm. I personally can find a positive in everything that he said except the first about being a liability instead of an asset. Maintenance is always the thing that airlines think they can get by without, but they never can. They know it, but it kills them.
 
LMP737
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Mon Jul 08, 2002 3:53 pm

A/c train:

Of course were combinational, that's what makes us American!  Big grin
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
A/c train
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Mon Jul 08, 2002 10:45 pm

LOL, no worrys guys's, its a hard life !!!!,
maybe ill dodge that confined spaces course ?????
maybe in twenty years time when im changing an APU in -10degC in the freezing sleet and snow, I might feel the same as you 'Apathoid' !!
or maybe not !, I love what im doing now!! I would rather be bathed in Hyd fluid than designing a repair scheme LOL !!
many kind regards,
a/c
 
Whiskeyflyer
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Fri Jul 12, 2002 9:05 pm

Maybe Apathoid a bit over the top but you have to watch out for yourself in the aircraft mechanics game. I have too many middle aged mechanics, trailing their tool boxes, coming up to me looking for contracts at our company and with their varied contracts, long hours, have contracted AIDS (Aviation Induced Divorce Syndrome). The pay is falling behind equivalnt rates in other industries and with the way airfares are going and getting cheaper than bus fares, I do not see the wages going up.
If going for a coarse try to go towards the avionics/electrics route, as airline training is very good in all trades, but with "sparky" skills you will find it easier to get a job in other industries outside of aviation when the down turns hit (which happen quiet often in aviation). Make sure you get a licence and not a company approval (if your in Europe). Good luck with the profession but look after number one (ie yourself) and ignore what the company human resource depts tell you (they just want slave labour)
 
A/c train
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Whiskey

Sat Jul 13, 2002 8:43 am

Do I know you ??? you must be an FLS guy, only people who work for them talk that way !!.
Some very intelligent input there, you have said what quite a few people have told me and you speak a lot of truth.
Not to keen on the AIDS bit !!.
I would like hearing about the better parts of the industry sometimes !! makes one whos on the Dual trade path feel better. Its not all bad !.
regs
a/c
 
EALBuff
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sat Jul 13, 2002 9:17 pm

Bruce,

If 'Apathoid' and others who are painting the 'glass half empty' side of the story haven't changed your mind yet, then might I suggest an excellent school here in North Florida not too far from you.

Florida Community College (FCCJ) recently open a brand new, state of the art aviation maintenance training facility at the old Navy base of Cecil Field (VQQ). The program is designed to send you out the door as a fully qualified A&P with enough hands-on experience to get you in a position at any major airline. And a AA degree as well.

Many schools will only get the A&P tickets, and then send you out into the real world, expecting you to work your way up the food chain with low paying jobs at mom & pap FBO's as 'Apathoid' described. But if you want to by-pass all that, then this school is intended for you.

The FCCJ facility has all the heavy equipment needed, FedEx recently donated a fully functional B727 to the school (a former Eastern plane I was told), and the Navy is donating a DC-9 sometime this summer. Aside from that, they also have a half dozen other smaller GA aircraft, all in perfectly flyable condition.

The school has also worked out a deal with the Navy, where you will spend time at their DEPO Level facility at NAS Jax. Once a week, you will work along side other A&P's getting OJT on Navy P-3's and other Navy aircraft. They also will pay you a decent hourly wage with some benefits while doing this.

Anyway, just thought I you would like to know. They have a web site if want more information http://www.fccj.org/ACE/. I'm not pursing this path my self, but one of the members of my Flying Club is the man who established this new facility and oversees the school. He gave us a tour of the facility at our last flying club meeting and I was very impressed to say the least.

Good luck with what you decide to do, and I've always thought, given a choice between being a aviation mechanic or auto mechanic, I would definitely go for aviation!
 
Whiskeyflyer
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Mon Jul 15, 2002 6:57 pm

Hi A/c Train,
I am not at FLS but I know them well, I have worked now four different countries on two different continents, and sorry to say not much difference in any of them as regards treatment of mechanics
 
popee
Posts: 151
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Mon Jul 15, 2002 11:21 pm

As a contribution from my side, many people hv fantasies about being in touch with aviation.

A man used to visit airport daily. He used to stand in front of the fence and keep gazing the incoming & outgoing aircrafts. He noted that as soon as a/c parks, a driver used to drive Flush Cart near the a/c, takes out a hose and connect it to the a/c to collect the MATERIAL. In this process some spillage was definite to fall on his body. This scene was repeated on every a/c, and noticed daily by the man. He developed a soft corner for that driver. One day the man got emotional, called the driver and offered him a white collar, highly paid office job. The driver listened in disbelief and shouted "MAN, u want me to leave AVIATION. "


Popee.
 
737doctor
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Tue Jul 16, 2002 5:11 am

Bruce, being an aircraft mechanic can be one of the most rewarding, thankless, challenging, frustrating jobs that you can ever have. If you haven't already guessed, I am trying to say that there is both good and bad associated with this career path. Let me explain:

As a kid, I was fascinated by airplanes. I built models and read all the books I could get my hands on. As a young teen, I took a ride on a helicopter at a local fair and decided right then that I wanted to have a job somewhere in aviation...I just didn't know in what capacity. In high school, I was fortunate enough to attend a school that had an Aviation Maintenance class in its vocational department. For two years, I spent two hours a day rebuilding reciprocating engines, shooting rivets, building wooden wing ribs, timing magnetos, etc. and I loved it. A recruiter from Spartan School of Aeronautics came to our school and I chose to attend there instead of joining the Air Force which was, in my mind, the other alternative. I moved to Oklahoma and earned my diploma, graduating with my A&P license in 1991. I was ready to set the world on fire.

One problem though, the aviation industry was experiencing a recession the size of which it had never seen before. I sent out hundreds of resumes across the country, but no one would grant me an interview. However, I did receive two large shoe boxes full of "Thank you but no thank you" letters. Over time, I got the feeling that if I set myself on fire and ran through the human resources department of any of one these companies, no one would bother to put me out. It was the classic conundrum: I didn't have enough experience to get a job and no one wanted to give me any experience.

I ended up taking a job in my hometown at a lawnmower repair shop, working on Briggs & Strattons instead of Pratt & Whitneys. I stayed there for two years while I continued to send out resume after resume, made payments on my student loans and attempted to raise a family on $8.00/hr. I was disappointed and angry and I felt that I was forgetting a lot of what I had learned while in school.

Finally I couldn't take it anymore. I took a chance and moved to Tennessee. By a stroke of luck, I landed a job working for a small cargo airline which flew 707's and DC-8's. I was making $13.00/hr and feeling pretty good about myself until they laid everyone off four days before Christmas. Back to square one. I pounded the pavement again, looking for a job, but no one was interested. Dejected, I moved back home.

I took a job fueling and towing light aircraft at an FBO for $5.50/hr just to stay around airplanes. By another fortuitous twist of fate, I got hired part-time by another cargo airline which flew DC-8's exclusively. Luckily, my prior experience on 'Eights got me the job. Everything was great for a month, until the company announced that they were moving the station to Denver. I was out of work once again. I pleaded with the regional manager of MX to keep me on staff. My station manager put in a good word for me as well. Finally I was told that, if I paid for my own move, they had a position for me in Salt Lake City. I sold everything I could to defray the costs and moved the wife and kids out West. Six months later, the SLC station closed. I was transferred to Austin. Six months later, the AUS station closed. I was transferred to DFW. Then the stress of the moving around finally took its toll. My wife left me and the kids. You see, A.I.D.S. isn't just an industry joke, it really happens; it happened to me. For four years, I was a single parent of two with no child support, trying to work the unpredictable hours of a Line MX mechanic for a small airline. When my kids decided to go live with their mother, I figured I had nothing to lose and I applied with Southwest. I got the job on the first try. I was lucky; I know many mechanics that had to interview several times before they got hired with SWA and I know many, many more that interviewed there multiple times and never got the job.

Now, after many long, hard years I feel like I have finally arrived. I am fortunate to work for one of the best airlines around and I am happily remarried.

The point of all this is to let you know that the road you are considering is long and full of hazards and broken dreams. I don't mean to sound dramatic; I speak the truth. I have so many stories which I could share similar to mine and most don't have a happy ending. As mentioned before, you will be subjected to extreme cold and heat, soaked in hazardous chemicals, expected to work in confined spaces and at potentially deadly heights. You will be looked upon as inferior by certain pilots who feel that they are somehow better than you. You will rarely hear the words "Thank you". You will most likely work long hours, spend extended periods of time away from loved ones and be viewed as expendable by management. You will be paid less than other types of mechanics that will never face the same liability as you.

Having said all that, sometimes, when you troubleshoot and fix a problem and you know you did everything right, the plane makes its gate and all the passengers and crew make it to their destination safely, somehow it all feels worth it. You don't get that kind of satisfaction overhauling transmissions or changing spark plugs.

So if you really want to do it, I say go for it. But if you view this field as just another interesting job or a way to earn a paycheck, you may be sorely disappointed. You have to love airplanes; you have to be committed to this type of career. In other words, it has to be in your blood. The position demands it.
Patrick Bateman is my hero.
 
cdfmxtech
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Tue Jul 16, 2002 3:22 pm

737doctor - Well said!!!!
 
A/c train
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737doctor

Wed Jul 17, 2002 7:44 am

Incredible story 737doctor, your a remarkable person too have never given in when you've been kicked up the backside so repeatedly in your career thus far, your current position sounds well deserved with a long and prosperous career still ahead. The AIDS thing has been mentioned too me a few times but I didnt have any clue of the potential effects.
many kind regards and all the very best for the future,
a/c
 
LMP737
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Thu Jul 18, 2002 3:53 am

737doctor:

Excellent post. One would have to be truly dedicated to ones profession to stick it out in such cicumstances. Myself, I guess I've been "lucky" so far. When I got out of the Navy was also the high point of the airline recession in the early 90's. So I went off to college. When I graduated the airlines/ aerospace industry was in a hiring frenzy. I was fortunate enough to land a job at Boeing. From there, with Boeing on my resume, I was able to land a job with the airlines. And so far I've been able to avoid the layoffs.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
737doctor
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Tue Jul 23, 2002 7:18 am

Cdfmxtech, A/c train, LMP737, thanks for the kind words.

They are very much appreciated.
Patrick Bateman is my hero.
 
avioniker
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Wed Jul 24, 2002 2:41 am

After 35 or so years working on most of the larger and higher performance planes, I have finally arrived at a simple analogy for the difference between an auto and an aircraft mechanic.

Being an aircraft mechanic/technician is a vocation, not a career.
Like others (recently in the papers) with a vocation one must love aircraft and what one does with and to them. If any individual sharing your vocation does anything which negatively impacts the image of the aircraft mechanic, that negative impact is shared equally by all who share that vocation regardless of their conduct or qualifications.

The beginning money stinks and layoffs are common but you can't make money with a broken plane at the gate, and you can't stop at 35,000 feet to find out what just went thump. And there'll always be a shortage of "good" mechanics.

Those of us with the vocation know how to enforce and hold the above truisms.
One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533
 
User avatar
HAWK21M
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Fri Jul 28, 2006 7:25 pm

Has The Situation Improved over the Years.Currently out here We are Experiencing a Demand due to the Aviation Boom.How long will that last is Anybodys guess.
The A320 & B737NGs are in demand out here.

regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
Lucky42
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Fri Jul 28, 2006 7:41 pm

737 doctor brings up some excellant points...but I have to side with apathoid on this one. My cousin who was a GA A@P tried to talk me out of going to A@P school so i went to college and got my degree in computer information systems but i hated it so i went back to my perceived love and got my A@P.
I had some really good times but for the most part it has been a rollercoaster and I have paid dearly working weekends and holidays and midnights could never get a decent relationship going and the ones who were married soon got divorced. This lifestyle is not for everyone so think long and hard before you get into it. I should have listened to my cousin but i had my head in the "clouds" now i really now what he was talking about. This is really a thankless job and you will be looked at as a liability. But if you want to be around airplanes and can put up with the crap and low pay which is here to stay by the way then I say go for it... Just know what you are getting into.
 
avioniker
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Fri Jul 28, 2006 10:44 pm

I've been doing things to planes since 1964. I started by pumping gas and changing tires to pay for flight lessons and graduated to dumping lavs and installing Lear Jet 8 Track players before I joined the Air Force in 1969. I gave them 22 years in electronics, line maintenance, ops, and avionics.

The military is heavy on the theory because they only have you for a couple of years and don't have time for you to pick it up on your own. It is also a good place to start but they don't teach you much of anything about the commercial or GA worlds.

If you're going to work on planes it has to be in your blood or you'll never be much more than another guy with the MEL numbers on a pad in his pocket and an incredibly bad attitude on your sleeve.

After 30+ years I was getting really tired of having to teach basic techniques to people I was working with and supervising and when I was injured I turned to teaching. Best move I made!

What I'm seeing now is that very few people have the most fundamental theories instilled in them. I had to show a company "guru" how to read for circuit continuity across the terminals of a breaker recently. I've had to stop classes to give remedial training so they could understand what I was trying to teach about troubleshooting.

There are a number of good and bad schools that will get you your tickets. Problem is that the ones run by engineers tend toward theory based on books rather than experience and the ones run by mechanics tend toward welding and doping. Pick one that will round you out. Chandler Gilbert Community College in Arizona has an excellent faculty made up of people that have been in the industry on all types of aircraft. The senior chair of avionics used to work for a PHX based airline at night and teach all day. (I have no idea if he slept) You used to get a very good founding in what you needed to start your career.

What I'm trying to say is: this has been a rewarding and frustrating career for me and I heartily recommend it to anyone with a masochistic bent.

To those who think long time mechanics have negative attitudes I say: You spend your life in a job where NO mistakes are allowed, you absorb the blame for every delay or cancellation, and the drivers get all the glory and then you get called a cynic and worse and still have to wash your hands first no matter how bad you have to go to the bathroom. How positive are you going to be after a couple of years like that?

You can't make money with a plane stuck at the gate, and you can't stop at FL350 to get out and find what just went "thump".

Remember, Those who can, do; Those who can't, teach; and Those who shouldn't be allowed to, are making the rules.

Those with no sense of humor have no sense at all.



 Smile
One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533
 
Matt72033
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Joined: Sat May 14, 2005 10:03 pm

RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Fri Jul 28, 2006 11:31 pm

Quoting Apathoid (Reply 11):
If you were my kid and you asked about being an aircraft mechanic I would slap you upside the head and tell you to do something worthwhile with your life

wow.......pretty much every mechanic ive worked with says the same thing!
 
aogdesk
Posts: 748
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sat Jul 29, 2006 12:57 am

Quoting Matt72033 (Reply 29):
wow.......pretty much every mechanic ive worked with says the same thing!

Not this one. If my son(s) wanted to go into aircraft maintenance, I'd explicitly detail all of the issues described here as so many others already have so that he would walk into it with his eyes wide open. After that, if he was ok with the risk/reward scenario, I'd encourage him as I do with everything. I haven't worn the shoes of the people who have been kicked around, and to date I've had a very rewarding career in the field. I know its bleak in most cases, but once airplanes are in your blood, its there for good.
 
Matt72033
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sat Jul 29, 2006 1:07 am

Quoting Aogdesk (Reply 30):
Not this one. If my son(s) wanted to go into aircraft maintenance, I'd explicitly detail all of the issues described here as so many others already have so that he would walk into it with his eyes wide open. After that, if he was ok with the risk/reward scenario, I'd encourage him as I do with everything. I haven't worn the shoes of the people who have been kicked around, and to date I've had a very rewarding career in the field. I know its bleak in most cases, but once airplanes are in your blood, its there for good.

exactly how feel, i'm currently half way through my apprenticeship and having the time of my life! i'm extremely excited about the rest of my career, but it seems to be that most of the certs i team up with the first thing they'll say is why the hell do you want this for a career?

i think for those people its a job, for me......itsa a passion!
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sat Jul 29, 2006 1:19 am

Quoting Lucky42 (Reply 27):
so i went back to my perceived love and got my A@P.



Quoting Lucky42 (Reply 27):
had some really good times but for the most part it has been a rollercoaster and I have paid dearly working weekends and holidays and midnights could never get a decent relationship going and the ones who were married soon got divorced.



Quoting Avioniker (Reply 28):
If you're going to work on planes it has to be in your blood

Agree to the above 100%,It seemed as if I was Writing/Typing it.

Quoting Avioniker (Reply 28):
when I was injured I turned to teaching

What Injury.

Quoting Avioniker (Reply 28):
How positive are you going to be after a couple of years like that

Since 1989 its been positive Every day/Night for me till date.Things have been very tough at times,Including one occasion when after 48hrs on the Job with a Terrible Headache,I was considering Quitting.But then something told me to Hold on,Take an Hour at a time.I loved the Job too much.When I got home I could not sleep,But when I did rest.Im glad I stuck on.

Quoting Matt72033 (Reply 29):
wow.......pretty much every mechanic ive worked with says the same thing

I'd say its a Tough field,Its plays with your Personal life & Health especially when you are doing Nights,The Working space is Exposed to the Sun,Rain & Cold.
But If you think this is what you love & you are being paid to Enjoy yourself,Why not.

The Sad part is It gets Tiring Physically after years, & I hope I can work as Actively as I am when my Retirement day Arrives.  Smile

regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
Matt72033
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sat Jul 29, 2006 1:23 am

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 32):
The Working space is Exposed to the Sun,Rain & Cold.

thats what i love most about it

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 32):
But If you think this is what you love & you are being paid to Enjoy yourself,Why not

thats how i feel, i dont feel like i've done a days work....it feels like a day of fun with friends!
 
dl1011
Posts: 315
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sat Jul 29, 2006 3:20 am

I'll have to side with the "what the hell are you thinking, don't do it" crowd.

First the positive- I still enjoy the work. I LOVE the travel benefits. I have worked with some very interesting people.
I feel lucky to have experienced what I have since I started with the airlines.

Now the negatives. Working nights, weekends and holidays sucks after a while. There have been so many lay-offs at my current employer that holding weekends/dayshift won't happen for another decade or two. Most airlines take 5-10 years to reach the top of the payscale.

If, after 10 years you decide to move to another airline, you get to start over at the bottom of the payscale with Tues/Wed off again.

My current employer used to be at the top of the heap. Top pay, benefits, pension and 401K. After 2 paycuts, maybe 3 rounds of lay-offs, loss of pension, theft of the 401K match and lousy benefits AMT's are quiting in droves. Oh yea, no OJI protection and only 5 sick days per year. All of the equipment is old and worn out with no replacements in sight. It's really a nice feeling to be on top of a 20 year old lift truck that is maintained by a GSE Tech that is about to be outsourced.

The recall policy changes all the time. Heavy mtc has been outsourced and many Line stations have been closed. Human Resources has been outsourced so trying to get help there is a joke.

While I don't feel direct pressure to let items slip, it "seems" that management doesn't mind if you look the other way. They are good at talking about safety but if it costs too much.....

Ten years ago, we were at the top of the pile. Now, it's SW and the cargo outfits but their days are numbered. Once their costs get too high, then they will go thru the same cost cutting that the other airlines have. I know people will disagree with me but if you asked 5 years ago where a NW, DL, AA or UAL AMT would be pay/benefit wise, what would the answer have been? Think a Union will help? Just look at what NW did to AMFA.

So, only you can decide if it's the right thing to do. If you decide to move ahead, you will need to find an A&P school. There are basically 2 ways to go. One of the "private" schools that takes about 12 months and a lot of money or something offered thru a community collage. That route takes about 19 months, is cheaper but takes longer. I would recommend as much avionics/electronics training as you can get. That's another 1-2 years of school. I would also recommend a FCC General Radiotelephone License. Many airlines/shops will require that to work Avionics.

As you can see, 2 years of school for the A&P, 1-2 years for the Avionics plus some more time for the FCC License. After 3 or 4 years of training, some HR puke will tell you that you are overpaid for having "just" a High School education. That's when you are tempted to see if a steel toe boot will really fit in an a**

After all that training, I would recommend even more education. Get a BS or BA so that in 10-15 years when you are burned out and pissed off at the airlines, you can move on to something else!

Good luck.
 
ilikeyyc
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sat Jul 29, 2006 7:47 am

Bruce

I don't know if it will help, but since others have done so, I'll share my short experience as an A+P.

I originally went to school to learn to fly, but after seeing how things have gone downhill for pilots post 9/11, I switched my career focus to maintenance so that I could actually pay my student loans. I have always been in love with airplanes and all things mechanical. I had several "How things work" type books as a kid and loved them. My first aviation job was as a bag smasher for two summers loading 737s and A320s. Thats when I really knew I wanted to work around airplanes. I got my A+P 11 months ago at a school in addition to my BS degree and pilot certs. I have now been employed as an aircraft mechanic at a regional airline for 10 months now. I work in heavy Mx. I work nights and have the middle of the week off. The starting pay here is $14.50 per hour. There are only three things that I like about this job. 1) I get to work around airplanes 2) I don't have a 9-5 office job staring at a computer all day, instead I'm constantly moving around and working with my hands 3) The flight benefits. (If they ever take away our flight passes, I'm quitting this job.) I don't like working nights and I don't like the chemicals that I am exposed to all of the time. I have a friend who works on GSE equipment and makes more money than me. I also have a friend who loads Coke onto pallets and makes more money than me! I really don't see myself doing this for a career. I would like to move into a tech-rep position after I get some more experience.

All in all, you really have to be an airplane nut to work as an A+P because there are many jobs out there that pay better and treat you better.
Fighting Absurdity with Absurdity!
 
n8076u
Posts: 419
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sat Jul 29, 2006 8:28 am

DL1011, wise words.

I had to start out working the ramp loading aircraft to get my foot in the door. Then I transferred to maintenance after a couple years. After a couple years of graveyard shift, I made swingshift. I had been on that shift for a while and finally got to work in the area I wanted to. Just when I was "fat and happy" with that, 9/11 happened, several waves of layoffs occured and I got bumped back to graveyard shift, and then to a lousy area, and then back to heavy maintenance from the line, and then out the door. Yay, 11 years down the drain, and nothing to show for it.

Will I go back? No. Do I regret any of it? No, best experience I could have ever had, and I enjoyed the work, and working around aircraft more than anything else I could have done, and that in itself made up for the bad days off and the crappy shifts, most of the time.

If you LOVE airplanes and can't get enough of them, you won't regret it. If you aren't into airplanes all that much, or you want to make the "big bucks" you've heard about, don't do it. But if you do go for it, just have a back-up plan in place.  Smile I had a back-up plan, and that's paying off for me now that I am out of aviation.

Chris
Don't blame me, I don't work here...
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sat Jul 29, 2006 4:50 pm

Another Thing I've noticed with most A&P personnell,is that most are seperated or Divorced.I found the Numbers to be quite high.
The job must take a lot from Family life.Its a tough balance act to achieve.

regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
dl1011
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sun Jul 30, 2006 12:43 am

"Another Thing I've noticed with most A&P personnell,is that most are seperated or Divorced.I found the Numbers to be quite high.
The job must take a lot from Family life.Its a tough balance act to achieve."

Yep. Most AMT's work night shift. Most partners work day shift. Most AMT's have mid-week off days. Most partners have Sat/Sun off. Many people that work night shift and "try" to sleep during the day suffer from sleep related issues. In my case, no matter how much I sleep during the day, I still feel unrested and per my wife I'm ALWAYS grumpy! Now add in a couple of kids.....
 
aogdesk
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sun Jul 30, 2006 5:25 am

Quoting DL1011 (Reply 34):
Now, it's SW and the cargo outfits but their days are numbered. Once their costs get too high, then they will go thru the same cost cutting that the other airlines have.

DL1011, would you believe that alot of people don't understand that, and they think they're going to be top of the heap forever.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Sun Jul 30, 2006 3:26 pm

Quoting DL1011 (Reply 38):
Yep. Most AMT's work night shift. Most partners work day shift. Most AMT's have mid-week off days. Most partners have Sat/Sun off. Many people that work night shift and "try" to sleep during the day suffer from sleep related issues. In my case, no matter how much I sleep during the day, I still feel unrested and per my wife I'm ALWAYS grumpy! Now add in a couple of kids.....

Thats a thought.Im lucky We can manage to devote 100% Weekend Family time,after 5 nights/week.Hope it always Continues.

At Times I wonder if any would choose this line if the results were Broken homes  Sad
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
LMP737
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Mon Jul 31, 2006 8:25 am

Quoting Avioniker (Reply 28):
To those who think long time mechanics have negative attitudes I say: You spend your life in a job where NO mistakes are allowed, you absorb the blame for every delay or cancellation, and the drivers get all the glory and then you get called a cynic and worse and still have to wash your hands first no matter how bad you have to go to the bathroom. How positive are you going to be after a couple of years like that?

About a year or two ago I had a "discussion" with a CSA from another airline about this sort of thing. He complained and I quote "You have no clue what its like to try and work against the 8-ball trying to get a full flight out when MX is helping matters get worse." To which I basically replied that he had no idea what it was like have agents, CSM's, supervisors hound you about an aircraft. I closed the conversion by saying "But hey, why should you "care". It's not your signature in the log book now is it." It's no wonder that some guys get a bit cranky after a number of years. Unfortanelty some guys make the mistake of taking this home and end up in divorce court.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:15 pm

Quoting DL1011 (Reply 38):
Yep. Most AMT's work night shift. Most partners work day shift. Most AMT's have mid-week off days. Most partners have Sat/Sun off. Many people that work night shift and "try" to sleep during the day suffer from sleep related issues. In my case, no matter how much I sleep during the day, I still feel unrested and per my wife I'm ALWAYS grumpy! Now add in a couple of kids.....

This also applies to relationships with friends. Since you'll be working mostly when your friends are off, sleeping when they are awake or having your day off when they are woking, you'll find that more and more your circle of aquaintances will shift to aviation people with similar shift patterns.

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
nonfirm
Posts: 426
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:04 pm

RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:59 pm

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 41):
About a year or two ago I had a "discussion" with a CSA from another airline about this sort of thing. He complained and I quote "You have no clue what its like to try and work against the 8-ball trying to get a full flight out when MX is helping matters get worse." To which I basically replied that he had no idea what it was like have agents, CSM's, supervisors hound you about an aircraft. I closed the conversion by saying "But hey, why should you "care". It's not your signature in the log book now is it." It's no wonder that some guys get a bit cranky after a number of years. Unfortanelty some guys make the mistake of taking this home and end up in divorce court.

That why i tell them to check with ops for the updates the agents at my work like to come down right to the a/c and stop us from working to answer there questions.that drives me crazy. airplane 
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:34 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 42):
you'll find that more and more your circle of aquaintances will shift to aviation people with similar shift patterns.

Thats Very true.
I guess Hence Friends are Mainly Night Duty Personnell.Not to add Studytime eating away those Free Hrs.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
NKP S2
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:30 pm

Quoting Nonfirm (Reply 43):
That why i tell them to check with ops for the updates the agents at my work like to come down right to the a/c and stop us from working to answer there questions.that drives me crazy.

That, and phone calls, lots of them. You're finishing a major job requiring lots of close-up and paperwork ( which is strewn all over the table in front of you and the guys you're working on it with ) and as you and them are feverishly trying to tie up loose ends the phone calls start coming from various people in ops, about one per minute. They don't want to talk to the supervisor or lead ( who are trying to be a filter center and officially update them ) but to those working the plane. Same poorly concealed panicky tone and basic question: How much longer? Do we have any idea? Can you give me a ballpark figure? Could we please call them the minute we're ready to taxi it over to the gate? It doesn't matter that these questions have already been answered and times given, but you get 9 or 10 calls from 9 or 10 people in the same room.

Each call interrrupts ( and distracts...not good! ) and just adds to the time on ETR and all but one call is unnessary and fielded by those not actually tasked in using the info you give, but by nervous nellie control freaks who are just blowing off steam as they fret. Finally what usually happens is someone else ( lead, supervisor, other mechanic ) will tell them tersely to just cut it out and stop trying to harrass us into telling them what they want to hear and that they're just making things worse. It's not our fault somebody fudges our numbers to be a yes-man.
 
MX757
Posts: 495
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:57 am

I can relate to all the above posts when it comes to the negatives that comes with the job. I use to let all that bother me! But do you know what? I don't care anymore! I don't care what a pilot, ops, CSA, bean counter, or any other aviation personnel think about my profession. I'm not here for them. I'm here to keep the aircraft in a safe and airworthy condition. If the aircraft is going to take a delay or a cancellation so be it. I will not cut corners or pencil whip a write up just to get an airplane out.

Now with that said, I have to tell you that I do love my job! I am an avionics technician and one of the top troubleshooters in my station. When I troubleshoot and fix a system the personal gratification I get is tremendous! I basically live for my next "fix". And that is the key for working in this profession find something you love to do and stick with it. The other alternative is that your going to be miserable for the rest of your career.

To those people out there that take there job home with them, STOP IT! When I punch out in the morning I leave work right there at the time clock. It's not worth upsetting yourself and your friends and family members with all the bullshit we as mechanics have to put up with on a daily basis. It's just a job.
Is it broke...? Yeah I'll fix it.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Tue Aug 01, 2006 4:31 pm

Quoting NKP S2 (Reply 45):
but you get 9 or 10 calls from 9 or 10 people in the same room.

I usually tell them a Fixed Time frame & will get back to them if there is a Change in that Time Frame.

Quoting MX757 (Reply 46):
I'm here to keep the aircraft in a safe and airworthy condition. If the aircraft is going to take a delay or a cancellation so be it. I will not cut corners or pencil whip a write up just to get an airplane out.

 bigthumbsup 

Quoting MX757 (Reply 46):
It's not worth upsetting yourself and your friends and family members with all the bullshit we as mechanics have to put up with on a daily basis. It's just a job.

I never mix Home & Work ever.Although at times I feel the Positives at both places can help.

regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
Lucky42
Posts: 297
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Wed Aug 02, 2006 2:08 pm

i will give it to MX757....He is in a good station with a good airline (atleast now it is) So I am happy for him....there are a few people who can get to a great career with good work ethics and good luck. But he is in the MINORITY. Good jobs and companies to work for are pretty non-existant now. CO has really cleaned up their act...I woudn't mind working for them myself. I know some of my co workers who now work for them and like it. But like I said be aware this industry changes everyday....
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Aircraft Mechanics Careers

Wed Aug 02, 2006 7:24 pm

Quoting Lucky42 (Reply 48):
CO has really cleaned up their act...I woudn't mind working for them myself. I know some of my co workers who now work for them and like it. But like I said be aware this industry changes everyday....

What changes the Companys Attitude.Is it the People on Top.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)

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