Career help.

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by FlyBoy152, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. FlyBoy152

    FlyBoy152 Filing Flight Plan

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    Hey guys. I'm new here. So if you guys have any tips for how to get started here that would be great. I am 17 and I actually started flight lessons officially in 2017 (officially...meaning that I had a few at another school about 3 years earlier) at W96 (New Kent airport) in New Kent, VA and did my first solo on my 16th. birthday in a 2004 Tecnam Bravo. My instructor (a very good friend) and the founder of the school, however, was killed in a plane crash near the airport in the plane that I soloed about 3 months after my solo. The plane was somewhat demolished for the most part. Therefore, I was never able to continue flight lessons. So I have been out of an airplane for maybe a year and a half. I plan to continue at KOFP (FlyHOVA at Hanover airport in Hanover county, VA) next year.

    With all of that said, I have one big question. My ultimate career goal is flying corporate or...big or...getting my A&P certificates and working as a tech. I was just wanting to know your guy's opinion on careers of this sort.
     
  2. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Have you got the grades to get into a service Academy or a major university with an aviation program? (Ohio or Perdue come to mind) If so you can continue free or
    relatively cheaply while getting a good education as a fall back.

    If you're more mechanically inclined then academic the A&P route is a good plan. Avionics techs are also usually as busy as they want to be.
     
  3. FlyBoy152

    FlyBoy152 Filing Flight Plan

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    Well...I like to get my hands dirty so that's where the A&P comes in yet...the feeling of having control of somethings so meticulous is just...exhilarating.
     
  4. ilpilot

    ilpilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Check out Purdue's Aviation Engineering Technology program. You will get your A&P and an Aero Engineering degree. Would highly suggest looking st Service Academies and/or ROTC in college. Both programs would allow you to continue exploring your flight training while getting a solid education.
     
  5. FlyBoy152

    FlyBoy152 Filing Flight Plan

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    Most likely not near me from where I think they are.
     
  6. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    This is excellent advice. I definitely wish I went this route vs. pure MechE. But if engineering isn't your thing then A&P is an excellent career choice and there is a strong shortage of both them and pilots. However, many pilot employers will want to see you have a 4 year degree before they consider you.
     
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  7. FlyBoy152

    FlyBoy152 Filing Flight Plan

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    I've heard it mentioned, however, that getting employed as an A&P tech without a 4 year degree is not impossible.
     
  8. Eric Stoltz

    Eric Stoltz Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Here's a cut n paste from American Airlines A&P job posting:
    Mechanic, Line Maintenance
    Date: Jan 2, 2019

    Location: Los Angeles, CA, US

    Req ID: 25850

    Apply now »
    Location: Los Angeles Apt, Terminal 1 (LAX-TRM1)
    Additional Locations: None
    Requisition ID: 25850
    About The Job
    Perform inspections, troubleshoot, and repair aircraft and/or engines and all associated systems using, safe, cost effective maintenance procedures.
    The terms and conditions of this position are covered by the International Association of Machinists (IAM) Collective Bargaining Agreement.
    Qualifications
    Required Qualification
    • A&P license required
    • Formal training on 737, 757, A320 aircraft
    • At least 1 year heavy commercial jet transport aircraft experience or previous performance of the duties set forth on the job qualification checklist
    • FAA drug test is required
    • Valid driver’s license
    • Must be current per FARs
    • Must have own tools


    Preferred Qualifications

    • Ability to trouble-shoot and repair aircraft systems
    ************
    I don't see 4 year degree on it, but maybe someone else can chime in. Seeing this, I'll go ahead and make an assouttame and u by assuming other majors don't require 4 year degree. Most major airline pilot positions, however, do.

    If I could do it over again, I'd get my A&P and my flight ratings all before getting that dream job. The airlines will be hiring for quite a while, so having both will give you the option to be able to go anywhere. I had a medical thingy come up that took the ability to fly for food away for a year (I'm only 43!!! WTF?!) Sure wish I had that A&P!
     
  9. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    That’s a preferred qualification? I’d hate to see a mechanic that couldn’t trouble shoot and repair the aircraft systems!
     
  10. FlyBoy152

    FlyBoy152 Filing Flight Plan

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    Exactly. Not much of a mechanic after all if you can't do that.
     
  11. LowanSlow

    LowanSlow Pre-Flight

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    @FlyBoy152, as a 22 y/o A&P, if your thinking of going for the A&P i would fully say do it. New A&P’s are being hired right out of school immediately by everyone, from my class i am the only one who stayed GA/Corporate and it has turned out great for me, lucky to have stepped straight in to managing 11 aircraft and building time as well in everything from a warrior to left seat time in Barons & piper navajos on up to right seat time in a King Air 90( stick time in a KA350 and citation 510 aswell). If you still want to fly, your A&P will open up many opportunities such as flight time that some people might not see but still allow you to afford to pursue your ratings and eventually transition to flying. Also remember to make as many friends in this industry you can, cant tell you how many people ive meet who i or they knew eachother just from coworkers/flying friends.
     
  12. FlyBoy152

    FlyBoy152 Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks man. I definitely am considering it.
     
  13. Bell206

    Bell206 Line Up and Wait

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    I wouldn't look too hard. Troubleshooting has become a dying art for the last 10+ years within aircraft mx. Some due to increased technology that doesn't allow for looking into the "black boxes." But mostly due to the evolving mind-set of disposable equipment, the computer-is-always-right, patience, understanding, and corporate culture. However, it's no different than the slew of "systems managers" that are currently moving into cockpits at the same rate.

    Unfortunately, even the new OEM troubleshooting charts support these shift. The old days of "or", "and", "nor" techniques are replaced by "Fault Code 23 change EECU" as the first option ($55K). But when the new EECU provides the same fault code the "boss" says to "change the harness". Then when someone decides to "troubleshoot" and looks at a diagram and re-seats pin 34 in the cannon plug P78...........
     
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  14. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Line Up and Wait

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    Short answer: Meh, if it works out, great. You could do better but you could also definitely do worse.

    Long answer: I'm a tinkerer and I definitely always liked working with my hands and using my brain. Both of these lend themselves to A&P work on the surface at least. And while I'm not an A&P, I have spent some time turning wrenches on airplanes for a living under the tutelage and supervision of A&P's in a professional shop environment while I was also flying for the same company. Having done both and having seen the lifestyle that both paths can lead to, I can honestly say that of the two, I would stick with professional piloting. Actually of the two, I would stick with neither but that's another story. Far better ways to make a living IME. But if piloting and wrenching are the only choices, I would probably opt for piloting as work and stick with wrenching as the hobby. Not because I like wrenching that much more as a hobby, but because I think wrenching is that much worse as a profession. And having said that I know the A&P's will now dog pile on me without mercy but my opinion is what it is. I ain't never seen no A&P's driving BMW's or doing weekends in their lake houses. Can't say the same for pilots.
     
  15. LowanSlow

    LowanSlow Pre-Flight

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    Im not goig to dog you Juliet Hotel as i partially agree with your comments, wrenching isnt for everyone, honestly it is hard for someone to make it an entire career, ive worked with many people in my short career so far that by their retirement were wore down after years of crawling around aircraft, the same can be seen on the flying side as well, professional flying (aka. Glorified chauffeur) is all about customer service, long hours, cleaning aircraft, stocking the plane, ect. It is a totally diffrent situation than a guy going and flying rivers on weekends for fun and can take the fun out of flying for some. With all that beig said, the industry is at a high point, pay is going up, benefits are getting better, as is QOL. Everyone will have a diffrent story/path and for some aviation is a pot of gold and others it ends up taking the passion out of it. To the OP, your not going to get rich most likely but as the industry is now, youll make a pretty decent living.
     
  16. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Line Up and Wait

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    Being a glorified chauffeur is a popular path in professional flying. But its not the only path. On the other hand, turning wrenches is pretty much always turning wrenches. The airline/heavy jet guys seem to do better than the mom & pop/piston guys in my experience. But the paths that lead to reasonable work hours and decent working conditions while also providing enough for things like fancy cars and second homes seem much more common on the pilot side than they do on the wrenching side in my experience. I could be wrong but that's what I've seen.
     
  17. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I know its normal for mechanics to wheel in their own tool box, but I thought that was only a thing with under-capitalized mom&pop maintenance shops. I would have thought that American can afford to buy the required tools.
     
  18. Bell206

    Bell206 Line Up and Wait

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    The one thing missing from this discussion is that the top 5-10% graduates from a Part 147 A&P school don’t even enter the aviation field. Most go to non-aviation industries who, unfortunately, give more value to their basic capabilities and skill sets than aviation companies do. And a number of these non-aviation companies will even show up at the job fairs held when an A&P class graduates.

    Even if one were to turn wrenches on aircraft for only 5 years then decide to look elsewhere outside of aviation, that A&P certificate will open more doors in a more diverse group of industries than any comparative certification, to include pilot certificates. I was once told by a Fed at the Directorate level a number of years ago, there were more A&P certificates working outside of aviation than in aviation.

    For me, I didn’t follow the path some colleagues did outside of aviation (directional drilling, power generation, etc) and the financial rewards it offered. I like aviation. But then again, I never needed to drive a Beemer, wear the latest fancy watch, or purchase the current status symbol. Instead, I buy new Toyotas when I want, share a camp on the river with friends, and retired much earlier than most pilot friends who still work to pay for their 1st marriage and the 2nd mortgage on their beach-front condo. But to each their own.

    To FlyBoy152: the old adage of, if you work at something you love, you’ll never “work” a day in your life, is true to the person who believes it. I do. There are a number of threads on POA that address A&P careers in more detail. Look them up and good luck.
     
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  19. Bell206

    Bell206 Line Up and Wait

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    In my experience, only jobs within an overhaul type shop environment or fall under a critical tool control program like found with most DoD contracts, will a company pay or assist in paying a mechanic for tools. Most line based mechanics are required to have their own minimum tools. Each company is different. Also as part of most A&P schools, a student is required to purchase their own tools to finish the program. So most A&Ps come out of school with their tools already. Now whether they take the Snap-On road or the Proto road is usually a personal decision.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
  20. cgrab

    cgrab Cleared for Takeoff

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    Check out Middle Tennessee University. They have an aviation program and a retired 727 on the campus. Great story on how they flew it in.
     
  21. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    As an alumni of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics (MSAAE '05) at said institution of higher rent seek *cough* I mean higher learning, you're talking about two different Departments. The engineering program, and the engineering technology programs are two separate things. I think you meant getting an A/P + Aeronautical Engineering technology degree, not Aerospace Engineering degree.

    I understand the confusion though, as an AAE grad student who just happened to be pursuing his FAA ratings on the side under part 61, while sharing the ramp with the 141 students @ Purdue, I was often assumed to be part of the professional pilot program, where one would get said technology degree plus your ratings (or AP as you noted, for those who were there for the AP). I assure you though, they're totally different things. Hell I would say my sentiments about my college tenure would probably be less bitter had I actually done the cakewalk fluff technology degree you cite (student debt notwithstanding of course). It's an absolutely useless degree program, but then again so are my laborious aero engineering degrees, 15 years removed without direct application, nor sincere interest in ever using. Turns out I'm the dumb one for going the harder route :D.
     
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  22. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Don’t sweat it man, your aero engineering degrees will look great on your Delta app. ;)
     
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  23. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Well, I heard they poo poo people who completed their undergraduate degree in more than 4 years, 3.9 GPA notwithstanding. Besides, I'd never work for an outfit that makes me wear a horse blanket and Soviet submarine hat indoors in the middle of a CZM turn in the summer :D TC
     
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  24. Piperonca

    Piperonca Pre-Flight

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    https://boards.fool.com/fedex-donates-727-to-univ-aerospace-program-16303357.aspx?sort=postdate

    "It is the first time a 727 has flown into the airport, and airport officials are taking special measures to ensure safety. Because of concerns about its weight, the plane will fly into the airport completely empty and with a minimum amount of fuel. FedEx officials have visited the airport to ensure the plane can land on the airport's 3,890 feet-long runway. Officials say the plane can come to a complete stop in 2,500 feet."
     
  25. Hacker

    Hacker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not exactly.

    If you want the real scoop on this, PM me.
     
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  26. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Interesting. To what depth does that go ? I understand your basic sets of wrenches etc. but once you work on turbines or helicopters I imagine there are lots of unique specialty tools. Even if you are not talking snap-on money, that looks like a major investment.
     
  27. flyer770

    flyer770 Pre-Flight

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    This is the list that my A&P school used, not much different than I went. After I finished, most places I looked at had similar starting lists. Most places outside of small GA shops will provide specialty tools, especially stuff like torque wrenches or specific airframe or engine tools.
     
  28. Bell206

    Bell206 Line Up and Wait

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    It depends. The minimum list shown above is pretty much standard. I started with something similar. But you end up building on that original list. There are a lot of variables to how many tools you need/use: shop based, travel around, metric/standard, etc. 90% of the work is performed with regular/common tools regardless of aircraft type. Most "unique specialty tools" are rather expensive and outside the scope of an individual mechanic, especially when you get to helicopters. But I had a few of the cheaper ones.

    Below is a pic of the last tool box I used in the field before I retired from the day job. It weighed 72lbs loaded and I maintained a number of turbine helicopters among other aircraft with it. I had another smaller top-lid box that carried basic metric wrench/sockets, cordless drill, VOM, wire strippers/crimper, torque wrenches, 3lb sledge, C-Squeeze/Pull Riveter, home-made specialty tools, and other odds and ends. It weighed 26lbs.

    I could travel anywhere and maintain any aircraft with both. Most company bases had S/M kits, Avionics Kits, shop equipment and other items like 1 inch torque wrenches and aircraft specific tools. If there wasn't a base we traveled with a fly-away kit that had the anticipated special tools and parts.

    Both my boxes and tools could be replaced for less than $3500 in today's dollars. And I had to on a couple occasions over the years.
     

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  29. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Just talking about the 727 at work last week. Our mech actually went to MTU. Good program.
     
  30. flyer770

    flyer770 Pre-Flight

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    FedEx gave away a lot of their 727s to aviation maintenance programs all over the country, but our school couldn’t take them up on their offer as the only place to park it was considered too close to the runway. Despite the fact that the taxiway and cargo ramp was closer than the proposed parking space. Ahh, the logic of the federales.
     
  31. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Well, that's not too bad. Not the $30,000 tool sets and thousands per year in licenses that seem to be the rule in the car repair business these days.
     
  32. Bell206

    Bell206 Line Up and Wait

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    In my experience, tools and costs are somewhat subjective to the individual. For example, while I did everything personally for $5K, a number of my co-workers spent $10K in tool boxes alone. But I'm curious, what "licenses" are you referring to that are required yearly for car mechanics? Or, are you referring to association fees?
     
  33. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Skip the 4 year BS degree programs and find a nearby Part 147 school that will get you through to your A&P fast. It's the FAA Mechanic Certificate and what you learn in pursuing it that really matters. The extra time, effort, and money that you'll spend in pursuing the BS will usually not return that much added value to your career. But later once you have your certificate and are working for a good company, you can hopefully use tuition assistance to pursue the BS if your company offers it and if you think it will benefit you.
     
  34. vman

    vman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    get the medical first
     
  35. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Software licenses that you need to do any serious work on modern cars. Even a stupid window crank motor has to be 'registered' with the cars convenience computer, and to do that you need the OEM software (or a pirated/reverse-engineered version of it).
     
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  36. iflyvfr

    iflyvfr Cleared for Takeoff

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  37. jonnyjetprop

    jonnyjetprop Cleared for Takeoff

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    Aviation jobs are/ will be plentiful. Turning a wrench or flying will provide you and yours a good life. Pilots are being hired with ATP minimums and most regional carriers have some pathway to a career position. While I’m not a mechanic, my airline is really concerned in finding mechanics as well.
     
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  38. cgrab

    cgrab Cleared for Takeoff

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    After it came to a stop they had to put down steel plates to get it to the university so it wouldn't damage the tarmac.
     
  39. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I got my A&P training at a community college. I had to buy my own tools. Snap-On gives a great discount to students; their philosophy is once you've used Snap-On, you'll never go back. I stuck with Craftsman, for the most part. Same replacement policy, and I never found a nut I couldn't turn with a Craftsman that I could turn with a Snap-On. When you get your toolboxes, you want to get low and wide, so they'll fit under a low-wing plane's wing. They called them "pizza-carts" at the FBO I worked at.

    It's a lot less expensive to get your A&P than a commercial license. And, you can actually start earning money half-way through the course. You'll need to complete the General and either the Airframe, or Powerplant to get your initial license. At that point, you can turn wrenches in whichever area you got your initial license. My school curriculum was General and Airframe first, followed by Airframe.

    If you get a job as a A&P, you can use your income to finance your flying lessons, and you'll already be at an airport.

    If you like to mess with avionics, you could add a line maintenance tech certificate to your A&P. I got my line certificate at Embrey-Riddle; they required an A&P license to enroll in that program. You might make more money, but the working environment will be a lot better.

    Finally, if you are wrenching, and want both a 4 year degree, and an ATP, get the degree first. Then you won't have to worry about your flying schedule interfering with your class schedule. Plus, with a degree, you could get into a career that pays better so you can afford flying lessons sooner.

    A service academy is also a good choice. It's a great education, you develop an awesome network, and you draw 1/2 a 2nd Lieutenant's salary at West Point, or the Air Force Academy. I'm sure it's similar for Annapolis mid-shipmen, too.

    It's difficult to get into any of the academies; the application process takes about an academic year., and after two years of school, you start accumulating commitments to serve after you graduate. Last I heard, it was a five year commitment after graduating, if they decide to commission you. The first 6 weeks are designed to weed out all but the people who really want to be there.

    Whatever you do, good luck.
     
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  40. FlyBoy152

    FlyBoy152 Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks Crashburn. You have been very helpful. I will keep these things in mind. Originally I was going to do the private first but...I think I may be changing my mind now.