New A&P student, questions

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by WheelSpatz, Jan 15, 2020.

  1. WheelSpatz

    WheelSpatz Filing Flight Plan

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    Hello all. I am a long time lurker. I have recently signed up to go to A&P school. My obsession with aviation is overwhelming and I am looking for a better career anyway.

    I've noticed there are many web discussion forums for pilots but can't seem to find any for the A&P.
    I know little of the industry except for what is out there in articles related to schools and recruiting. Are there any other places where A&Ps talk on the web?

    My curiosities are for the piston GA side of the trade but I am aware the license allows work in many areas of commercial and Private aviation. Any advice for a newbie?

    I still would like to become a Private Airman but would rather get paid in the meantime while learning. Hopefully I will be able to barter for some flight time in the future.

    Any suggestions? Criticisms? Warnings? TIA
     
  2. NordicDave

    NordicDave Cleared for Takeoff

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    Most A&P's never get rich, but have a terrific life unchained from a corporate desk. The demand is very high and may shops like hiring student going through the program as interns. There are lots of opportunities to trade services when your on a field.

    Eventually in retirement there's almost unlimited work for cash available when you have built a reputation.

    I'd encourage your thought of getting your private pilots license along with your A&P. puts you in a more rarified group.

    Good luck to you on the future!
     
  3. WheelSpatz

    WheelSpatz Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks, I hadn't considered working in the field while attending school. I do have a good day job that I will be keeping in the meantime as it affords me the availability to attend school without having to work nights and weekends.
     
  4. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Most A&P’s can’t type.
     
  5. WheelSpatz

    WheelSpatz Filing Flight Plan

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    So then Im starting out with an advantage, sweet.
     
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  6. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Many, if not most of the pilots here are non-professionals. Most A&Ps are professionals. Might be why no A&P's of America forums.
     
  7. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I was kidding. Sort of.
     
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  8. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    There are a few out there but none never really get the traffic. Same with mx magazines. Mechanics who do participate tend to post on pilot forums like PoA. At least in my experience as an AP.
    Generally, start thinking which path you want to take. Small GA is usually on the lower pay scale with Part 135/121 on the other side of the scale that various with operator. Same with helicopter vs airplane. Boils down to where you want to live will dictate what jobs available and pay.
    But if you want to give yourself an advantage over others, become very knowledgeable of the the FARs and support docs like ACs, Orders, etc. AND become proficient in either avionics/electrical or sheetmetal along with your AP. I preferred the electrical side but an AP with either skill Ups their chance to get hired.
     
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  9. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Line Up and Wait

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    I made a very good living working for Douglas and Boeing. The bigger companies have benefits that provide a good paycheck, medical, 401K and retirement packages. General aviation, not so much.
    I started out at the local airport after earning my A&P and quickly moved to Robinson Helicopters and then onto McDonnell-Douglas’ payroll and then Boeing when they bought Douglas. I just couldn’t justify making < half the money in general aviation with lousy benefits. I retired after 30 yrs. in my 50’s with no debt. I also earned my pilot certificate along the way.
    True, general aviation is more interesting and it’ll make you a more rounded mechanic, but the reality is you’re much more liable when you screw up in a small shop or self-employed. And the money thing is hard to ignore. Very hard.
    Sorry about not knowing of any websites that are solely devoted to A&P’s. POA, however has a lot to offer if questions arise, so stick around and see what happens!
     
  10. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    Define rich? Most mechanics I know hoard their money and retire/semi-retire early.
     
  11. WheelSpatz

    WheelSpatz Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks, It would seem that working on the more expensive aircraft would pay better and allow for more funds to chase my own aviation goals. I live in Florida just outside Tampa. I'll be attending National Aviation Academy in Clearwater starting next month.
    They have a 14 month program that includes testing along the way. They also have a hanger at St Pete/Clearwater (PIE) with their own aircraft that they tear apart and put back together. With so many airports and aviation related businesses around I feel fortunate that I will be to gain employment locally.
    Moving may be an option down the road, but I do have a family to consider as well.
     
  12. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Lots of opportunities in Tampa area.
     
  13. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    In general yes. But its more dependent on the company also how much you make.

    However, as a side note, depending how deep your aviation goals are there are non-aviation companies out there who put a high premium on those with APs even though no aircraft are involved. And at a substantial wage increase. We lost a number of mechanics once to the directional drilling industry as an AP has one of the most diverse required skill sets out there.
     
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  14. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Make friends with some local pilots. You’d be surprised how many would be happy to have you join them occasionally.
     
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  15. WheelSpatz

    WheelSpatz Filing Flight Plan

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    Drilling? As in oil exploration or utilities? I work now with utilities as a locator. Much of my employment history has been in the construction trades as a service tech.
    I have troubleshooting skills in electrical, plumbing and hvac as well as general carpentry.
     
  16. WheelSpatz

    WheelSpatz Filing Flight Plan

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    Will do. I have the aviation bug bad. When I work down in Clearwater I always take my lunch down near the air park. I love to park near the sw end of the runway and observe the traffic.
     
  17. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    Yes. And offshore power generation. And dental equipment manufacturing. And... The list of companies is rather diverse. I personally didn't follow that golden road as I was pretty much hardcore aviation.;)
     
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  18. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Cleared for Takeoff

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    the aviationmaintenance subreddit is decently active. I haven't seen a concentration of A&Ps online anywhere else with the same activity.

    They're super helpful to newbies and will be a good source of advice if/when you need it.
     
  19. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pattern Altitude

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    Semi thread drift here- anyone out there have experience with A&P through apprenticeship for required time without formal school then take the tests??
     
  20. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Line Up and Wait

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    A lot of the Airframe curriculum is similar to what is covered in ground school and you’ll be way ahead with engine ops after Powerplant.
     
  21. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes. Went to Bakers in Nashville. Piece of cake.
     
  22. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    Yes. It's how I earned my mechanic certificate. While it is an option, you will have a certificate faster if you go the school route.
     
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  23. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    I think he was asking about getting the 30 mos exp to get his test authorization tickets. Baker only works if you have the tickets like you had?
     
  24. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    It's how I did mine also. But it is more difficult now and very dependent on location, company, and local FSDO. However, if you're curious on your options visit the local FSDO and ask.
     
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  25. Witmo

    Witmo Pattern Altitude

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    I retired from the USAF and earned an A&P with GI Bill benefits at a community college. Dollars go much further at a community college vice a for profit vocational school. I interviewed for a job at a for profit school and it was made very evident to me that profit was foremost in their program.
     
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  26. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    You mean that untaxed cash they get from side jobs?
     
  27. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Line Up and Wait

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    You mean that same type of cash most musicians get paid in?
     
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  28. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Sick burn!
     
  29. LowanSlow

    LowanSlow Pre-Flight

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    The Industry is strong right now and having an A&P will open up many doors. As previously mentioned, figure out what part of aviation interests you most, if Its GA, generally there is less money but if you have a good reputation and eventually an IA, you will never be without work. Corporate is growing right now with many jobs but it is more of a “who you know” when finding the best gigs. Finally you have the airlines which seem to be hiring most all new A&Ps that come from schools. Get your PPL at a minimum if you want to fly,, from my early career so far, having my A&P and getting the Comm SEL/MEL has helped me to start flying everything from 150s to recently SIC in CJs.
     
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  30. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

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    Not at all. Most of us run/ran any side money through a LLC/Inc as it provides more benefit than pocket change. In my experience, most mechanics simply max out retire contributes and live within our means. No magic. ;)
     
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  31. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    New A&P Student, don't get sucked into the Snap-On tools world, I only buy their torque wrenches and some misc things.

    Snap-On is basically Gucci/Chanel for men.
     
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  32. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Same as with a formal school....it's the hours. Track the hours and work in a detailed log, verified by the A&P. When you get the hours, you can take the 3 exams - General, Airframe & Powerplant. Shop that does the work on my cherokee has 2 "apprentices", who are retired guys with extensive auto repair experience who are also pilots. It used to hire one or 2 students from the A&P school on the field, but the school shut down 5-6 years ago.

    Not only your PPL, but down the road get the Commercial - that way you can ferry airplanes when the owners can't figure out how to get the airplanes to you and themselves back home.
     
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  33. Bacho

    Bacho Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have my A&P and work for a regional airline. I love it. I think I get paid well enough and I literally have an enormous fleet of aircraft that I can hop on and fly for free or nearly free anywhere I want to go. My wife and I have gone many places and done many things we would have never thought of before.

    Ive been on the verge of wrapping up my PPL as well for some time.

    Sometimes I think general aviation might be more interesting, but the pay is substantially less.

    I HIGHLY recommend getting your ticket through a community college. Nobody cares where you went to school. Save money. My schooling was nearly free with some basic grants and scholarships.
     
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  34. WheelSpatz

    WheelSpatz Filing Flight Plan

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    thanks, I've seen that show before. I'm not gonna be making interest payments to any tool manufacturer. Lots of great videos on YouTube 'bout this subject. A&Ps do like their tools and are sharing good money saving info about them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  35. WheelSpatz

    WheelSpatz Filing Flight Plan

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    Yes, 2000 hours for A&P/Aicraft Maintenance Tech. 3 written tests and two O&Ps ( similar to pilots)
    The school is trying to sell an add on for Advanced Aircraft Systems which seems to be mostly modern avionics.
    The recruiter has stated that many employers send graduates back to the school and pick up the tab for this. I'll pass for now.

    I've seen some apprenticeship programs where there is OTJ training. For me, Grants will pay 1/3 and students loans will pay the rest. I can look at scholarships too. The loan amounts are tiny compared to University.
     
  36. WheelSpatz

    WheelSpatz Filing Flight Plan

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    There is an A&P with a popular YOUTUBE channel, Andre the A&P.

    He had thousands of hours of power plant experience on Harriers in the Marines. After serving he was only able to qualify for power plant portion of license. He was still required to attend school for hours on the other portions.
     
  37. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Same as me. 10 years as a jet engine mechanic in the Air Force. I'm getting hours on the weekends working with two A&Ps to qualify sitting for the test.
     
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  38. Geosync

    Geosync Pre-takeoff checklist

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    First warning, and it may be too late- Go to community college, public A&P program. Not a for-profit private college which will put you $40,000 in debt.

    1. There used to be an A&P only forum up to about a year ago, but it was shut down due to little traffic. Jetcareers forums seems to have the most active AMT/A&P thread, which is still not that active.

    2. Absolutely get your A&P, there is a CRITICAL need for them, especially in GA. But keep your mind open, as there are endless subsectors of aviation that can be lucrative. Get your A&P, get a couple years experience. Then you can stay in standard GA, helicopters, military contract stuff in parts unknown making a ton of money, corporate jet management. These days I work across this spectrum and know A&Ps in all these fields, it's real, and so is the money(not so much in standard GA).

    As others have said, you can end up another industry. I did several years in the space industry building satellites that took me all over the world, to test and launch bases. A&Ps were the closest thing there was to building spacecraft so the industry sought them out.

    3. I traded maintenance for flight time, which got me through instrument and commercial ratings, for basically free. If you can swing that, then great.

    So my advice is- get your A&P, be willing to travel, even internationally. Push yourself to be an absolute professional. Most A&Ps, especially in GA are grease monkey types that rather spin wrenches and leave the management/customer relations to someone else. Which means if you can do both, you will skyrocket up the ladder. You will have to prove yourself to the grunts though, work harder, get as technically sound as them, but also strive to move up. If you do these key things, you will do well.

    PM me for questions.
     
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  39. Geosync

    Geosync Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A co-worker of mine did that. But he took 3 times as long as me, who went through a school. The problem he ran into was our supervisor became wishy washy about signing him off, and it became a major issue. Also, while OJT is great, there is something to be said for the foundational knowledge in electric/mechanical/hydraulics/etc. Maybe you know all that from building cars since birth, but not everyone is like that. So if it is more convenient to go that route, by all means go down it.
     
  40. WheelSpatz

    WheelSpatz Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks, all great info. I am accepting financial aid for the school. My program is 14 months start to finish. It will not follow traditional college semester schedules. Grants will pay for a third but I've accepted the trade off of some debt in order to finish much earlier. Also, the credits will transfer over to community college hours. Since I already have some I will be close to an associates at the end.

    Polk state college in Florida has partnered up with the school and I can take a few more online courses for the degree after finishing A&P certificate training.