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A & P Pilot

Unchilled

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Does it do any good for someone dead set on a career as a pilot to get certified as an A & P Mechanic? It seems like it would be benificial in that you'll be more well-rounded as a pilot, but would it help you with your career? Will future employers look favorbaly upon this, or will they even care?

Thanks!
 

avbug

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UC,

It makes a difference for some jobs. Any qualifications you have can be benificial in a competitive way, but it really depends on the position you seek. If you're seeking a position as an ag pilot, it's a tremendous help. If you're flying bush or back country work, it's terriffic. Employers will love you.

If you're seeking a flight engineer position, having a mechanic certificate in conjunction with your flight engineer ticket is a very big plus.

I've been held back a few times when I was more use in the shop than on the flight line at companies before; others flew first while I was changing tires, performing inspections, doing work in the shop. Others around me were in the same boat. I've flown for other employers where I was the first to go out and fly, because the employer knew that if anything went wrong, I could fix it and get home...and frequently did. I've been assigned to remote sattelite operations for employers in part for that very reason.

One thing that a mechanical background will do for you is help you learn and understand systems with ease, and with much more rapidity than folks who don't have that training and experience.

It goes without saying that experience as a mechanic provides a backup for the day your medical fails, you get injured, or are furloughed. Having a backup is more than a good idea. It's essential. Ask a lot of the folks who are posting here right now.

I got my first jet job as Director of Maintenance/Copilot on a corporate airplane. Without a good maintenance background, I couldn't have been awarded that job.

If you're trying to decide what to do in school, and you have the option of getting maintenance training while you work on your flying, go for it. It's a valueable skill.

Good luck!!
 

alimaui

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Where is a good place to get this type of training? Or, more generally, what places (types of places)offer this type and/or certify this type of training?

Ali
 

Unchilled

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Maui -- There's lots of places you can get your A & P. I'm certainly in no position to make definite recommendations, but Westwood http://www.westwood.com and Spartan http://www.spartan.edu spring to mind. Personally, I'm seriously considering Cochise Community College in Arizona as a place to get all my pilot ratings. Someone recommended me gto get my A&P there as well, as they have a very good program there. http://www.cochise.org/aviation

Bug -- Thanks for the insight. It's definitely something I've been very interested in pursuing. The affordability down there at Cochise is awesome and it seems like a good opportunity for me to pursue getting A&P certified.

Also, what do you mean by "bush or back country work" I've heard the terms used before but I'm not exactly clear on what they mean. Is it like BLM/Forest Service flying? That kind of flying certainly sounds enjoyable. Is it usually a low-time gig?

Thanks.
 

OtterFO

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Unchilled,

The definition of Bush flying which is commonly accecpted where I am on the North Slope of Alaska is flying in an area with no roads. Many operators here in Alaska operate between villages which have no roads to the outside. We refer to those as Bush Villages. The "city" I live in has something like 27 miles of interconnecting roads. But if you want to go to any other village, you must do it on an airplane or snow machine.


I'm sure Avbug can provide an observation of Back Country flying in the lower 48.
 

avbug

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UC,

I was just about to reply, but something has come up. If I don't get back to you, it's not intentional; please don't let me ignore you. Send me a PM.
 

Unchilled

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Otter -- Thanks for the explanation; any job that let's you fly an otter has to be fun.

Bug -- No big deal, thanks for your help so far.


Anyone else have any input on the subject of pilots having their A&P certification?


Thanks.
Unchilled
 

stingray

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Getting your A&P is a much longer process then getting your
commercial pilots liscense. be prepared for that.
It definetly looked in a very positive manner, check on the plus side. Besides giving you a better knowledge of whats going on with your plane.
I got mine through expierence in the Air Force as a mechanic EC/KC-135's, still had to do the practical test. Though i don't use it much anymore. Like flying to much.
I'm not to sure hold long it takes through a school hopefully someone else can answer that. Good Luck.

P.S. it also greatly improves your chances fo getting on with companies that still need FE's
Though be careful of the companies that have the so called profesional FE's NO moving up to the FO position, unless being an FE is your where you prefer to stay as some do.
 
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Unchilled

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Stingray -- Thanks for your input. I'm figuring 12-15 months for the A&P certification. The idea is, I'll try to get all my ratings beforehand, and instruct to build time while I'm working on my A&P; although that may be stretching things a little too much.

Any thoughts?

Thanks.
Unchilled
 

stingray

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I added some stuff to the original message.

Good luck it will only help you out
 

TurboS7

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I have an A+P and AI, if I had to give up ratings I would give up my pilot ratings before I gave up my mechanic ones. I fly a 737-800 and I use my rating regularly for stuff on our airplane all over the world. When I am flying as captain maint. control is very relaxed as they know everything will be handled. Even though we carry an onboard mechanic for the long hauls having an extra set of eyes makes things safer. My wife likes it too as she knows I will be out at the airport working on the airplane vs. hanging out at the bar with the FA's. I have done maint. on all the aircraft that I have flown, as for getting a job it makes it a snap. A rating and ability well worth having, it just opens up a whole new part of aviation.
 

Pilot's Wife

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Before you decide to get your A&P you need to figure out where you want your aviation career to go. You have already had several good posts on here that address that. My husband is an A&P pilot - he went that way originally because he wanted to focus on corporate flying. Since getting it he has changed his focus and is trying for a major. He has a number of type ratings and his A&P background has always helped him do very well on his orals. However, many non A&P mechanics do just as well and don't waste 14 months and $10,000 getting there. We also learned that many corporate operators do like to hire pilots with A&P's. But once again, this isn't always good. It might help you get the job, but you also are the first one to not go flying when there are mechanical problems on other planes. If you are like most pilots, seeing other guys flying while you are wrenching - it isn't pretty. It can be helpful when you are a low time pilot trying to get your foot in the door, but after that - it just depends where you are working. Also, if you would ever lose your medical it would be something you could fall back on and still work in aviation. A couple of years ago we took off my husbands resume that he was an A&P for the reasons listed above. My husband likes wrenching - but not at the expense of his flying. So basically evaluate what interests you most. Most low time pilot's get their first break, not with an A&P license, but by knowing the right person. You don't generally meet that "right person" in a hangar under the plane, but in the lobby or pilot's lounge talking to other pilots.
 

stingray

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I know a good amount of pilots personaly who have their A&P ticket including myself. It will only help you.
There is a good amount of pilots that don't know squat about the workings of the planes that they are flying. Getting this extra knowledge will give you a much better understanding of whats going on with your plane and being able to figure any possible problems out should they arrise with more ease.
It also gives you some ability to tell if the mechanic working on the plane you are flying, is full of S*** or is just a dumbass. I've whent to new shops or did some of the work myself because of this.
One of my many side jobs when i was building time and still waiting for that "big break" was helping with A&P work on various corporate aircraft. I also cleaned and shined many a slats. I also made sure they knew i had my commercial multi ticket and that i realy rather be flying then doing A&P work. Well a pilot with the KAir 200 asked me first to fly with him and then some of the others asked. You Can get an hugh amount of connections doing this UNLIKE what P.W. says. Here are the ones just at my small home airport, that fly kingairs, an astra, citations, learjets, DA10&50&900 and 2 challengers, Gulfstream and a Global. If you realy whant to fly you will find a way
One of the 1/2 owners of the kinairs whanted out and get his own plane.
With help from that KingAir pilot
Guess who got that flying job and did not have to be a mechanic on it. It was only a 414a but 2 jobs later I'm at EJA, you certainly won't see me turning wrenchs here they have better qualified people for that
If your real goal is to be a pilot you don't let them make you mechanic with a pilot license, You are Pilot who just happens to have A&P ticket.:cool:
 
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OtterFO

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I'm not trying to be negitive here, but I am going to say something negitive.

I worked for a company who wanted a combo pilot/dispatcher (under part 121) Obviously I couldn't do both at the same time. But what I found out was they couldn't afford either. Talking to the DOM of the same company, he has seen the same thing with pilot/A&P combo.

So if you do get your A&P be careful about the job you take.
 

LearLove

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OtterFO has a point

I'd love to get my A&P and AI it would save me on my own ac plus I love turning wreches as mush as flying. I have a mechanical engineering degree but it dosen't do me any good here. Does anyone know how I could get an a&p while flying for the airlines full time? I'm single so I have allot of spare time.

AS for otterfo's comment yes be careful your are an assett to a charter/flightscool/cargo operation if you can do both. You will save their butts many a time. Be sure you are compensated as such. We had a pilot/a&p at my first job flying between military bases and his a&p came in useful on several occasions but the company did't recognize it until he left.

Happy Flying
 

LR25

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My .02

As I have stated before on the old board.

Having the A&P is a doulbe edged sword.

I will say it helped me get my career going as a pilot, but man did I work for it.

I worked on airplanes since I was 15 and yada yada, decided to go to A&P school right after high school( which took 22 months). One of the best decisions I have ever made I think. By the time I was 22 I was working for a freighter airline on DC-8's and was the station manager by 23, also already had all my rating except the ATP by then to.

But here is the ugly part about the whole A&P/pilot thing. I went to work for a 135 operator to fly and do "light" maintenance. Well by the time it was all said and done, I was pulling engines, buried in airconditioners and other none "light" maintenance type of work while the other pilots put on the bars and clean white shirts to go fly the trips. Needless to say that did not continue for very long.

I will also add this, if you are going out to get an A&P just for another feather in the cap to help land that flying job, you better have the skills to back it up. Remember, the A&P ticket it just a ticket to learn, you might put it on the resume, but if you dont have any work experience to go along with it you might be in for a little suprise. But you will have the power of the pen.

But it is a good feeling to know that I can go back to my other career if I have to in times that the pilot market dries up, which I almost had to excersize after September, still hanging on.

Good luck.
 

avbug

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All of the above posts are correct, and accurate.

Flyinggal, unless you can go to work full time for 30 months as a mechanics assistant in addition to your flying duties, your only other path to certification as a mechanic will be night school or classes through your local community college. You can knock this out in 18 months to 2 years typically. If you can work as a mechanic, 30 months of full time work is required before being able to test for both the airframe and powerplant ratings (only 18 months to test for either one individually).

Back country work, referred to earlier, can be any kind of flying into remote areas, or areas less traveled. It often involves a lot of work on your own, with little support. It's frequently done at remote locations, off unimproved or poor airfields. Often dirt or gravel, often with no facilities, maintenance, etc.

With many former jobs, I've had to carry tools on board, and in some cases, parts. In a few cases, I've done repairs in flight due to the nature of the work.

Some remote area jobs are entry level, but many are not. In many cases, being a certificated mechanic isn't so much the issue, as one who can handle doing the work and getting the airplane home. It's a different kind of life, and a different kind of flying. The bottom line for the employer is can you do the job, and can you bring it home. Getting the signature is only a bonus.
 

Fr8DoggyStyle

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I'd like to 2nd the remarks previously made as my career path somewhat resembles what LR25 was saying about his. I'd just like to reinforce that getting an A&P is much like getting a commercial pilot's license...... it's definitely a license to learn. Other than to be used to enhance your knowledge of aircraft systems or to bolster your resume, an A&P should be backed up with some real world working experience.


Another thing, (this coming from the mechanic part of me) pilots with A&P's should make sure and remember that thats just what they are- a pilot with an A&P. A few times i ran into pilots who had magically become god's gift to all things mechanical just by getting their yet unused A&P certificate. There are few things that will piss off a mechanic more than a pilot telling him how to fix his airplane. Its sorta like a mechanic with a fresh pilot's license telling you how to fly your airplane.

sorry i'll get off my soapbox now
 

stingray

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I some how feel some of the comments where directed to me about a pilot/mechanic giving a mechanic suggestions on how to do some things and vice versa. However i do agree with the comments Fr8 made.
I do admit i have things to learn from both jobs, but My time as a mechanic on EC/KC/RC-135's, and as an A&P for Bar Harbour on Beech 99s, 1900's and Saab 340's, and some coporate aircraft. and My time has a professional pilot, Both of the positoins have given me the ability to talk from both angles with pilots and mechanics with some knowledge.
People tend to not listen to somone that appear outside there immediate profession even if you have the expierence to back it up. probably true in all business.
 

bobbysamd

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Pilot with A & P

I think it's a good idea for a number of reasons. For one thing, as Avbug and others said, it's a great backup if you ever must stop flying. Another thing is it's another, excellent qualification to show on your resume. An A & P documents that you understand aircraft systems. That will help you big time during any airline groundschool. It also shows that you can prove or disprove an aircraft's airworthiness. A final good reason to get it is illustrated in something that happened with a friend of mine. He was a commuter captain years ago, and held an A & P. Something happened with his airplane at an outstation - nothing to ground it, necessarily, but something that needed a mechanic's attention. He took off his Captain's hat, put on his A & P's hat, examined the airplane, signed it off, and kept it flying.

I agree with the others that you should differentiate carefully with an employer exactly for what position your're being hired and your job description. Otherwise, an A & P is valuable credential. I'd do it.

Good luck turning wrenches.
 
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