This is so real it is almost scary. Despite the diatribes and shall i say less than lucid postings, one could gleen a certain profile and feeling for the career, at least at the airline level. I've been there 13 yrs and there have been some moments. My buddy recently deployed a reverser sleeve on a triple 7 into a dock slider. Fortunately the visit was not impacted by this 'incidence'. Working 6 and 2's midnight shift can affect one's alertness from time to time, although i do not propose that this schedule should be used as an excuse, it is certainly not conducive to error free production. Walk away, do nothing, before you do something wrong.
I believe we all (mechanics), while coming from much more varied back grounds than your average pilot, have an affinity and love for what we do, and many are pilot/owners as well. (myself included). Some are educated and are using the position as a stepping stone. 72K/yr will buy you some time and money to pursue other interests. And your home every night (or day as the case may be).
U.S. Aviation also has a slot set aside for utility/mechanic but it is generally not traveled much.
Between ten and fifteen dollars an hour is typical for a GA mechanic, frequently lower, but often about twelve dollars an hour. Mechanics do not get their due, especially considering the training that is involved, as well as the responsibility (which is astronomical).
Are jobs available? More than you could apply for in one lifetime. Mechanics often can't afford to stay with the industry, and leave to work for car dealerships where some actually make salaries that are livable. Just about anywhere you go, jobs are available.
Y'know Avbug, normally I'd agree with you, but not recently...
I'm unemployed as both a pilot and A&P. So far, NOBODY has been interested in me as a mechanic (and I'm not the run of the mill young A&P either). In fact, a certain operator in WY redirected me to the chief pilot as I was filling out the application for an A&P job (but I didn't get that either--perhaps next year).
But everybody I've talked to about being an A&P has been pretty put off by the wet ink on my A&P certificate.
I think it's just a timing thing, because every place I've ever worked is ALWAYS bithcing about how they can't find A&Ps around, but right now there doesn't seem to be much for those of us with no real experience as a liscensed A&P...
I'll bite. What makes your experience different than the "run-of-the-mill A&P"? Is there something that would make you more hirable or attractive to an employer, than most other mechanics?
I suspect I know the place you're talking about. Why did the head of maintenance refer you to the CP for a maintenance job? If we're thinking of the same firm, they need 800 hours minimum for copilots, and prefer much higher, and your profile shows 650.
You check any aviation employment site right now, including TAP. You'll find that mechanic jobs are in the majority, while pilot jobs are still in the minority.
The thing that makes me different from the "run of the mill fresh ticket A&P" is that I've got the experience (while I was working on my A&P through a part 147 school) as the mechanics apprentice thing. So I've done the obligatory oil changes, hundred hours, tire changes, and all that basic A&P stuff outside of school.
I've also worked in aircraft restoration, so I'm quite comfortable with sheetmetal work above and beyond any I've seen in GA shops.
I've worked as a handyman maintaining a dozen buildings, five automobiles, two buses, a tractor, etc... (it's not like I can't fix stuff).
Add to that my degree, so I can engineer any structural work (instead of using the repair charts in AC43.13--which are inefficient, and incorrect in this -1B), I can do just about anything you want with the EFIS, EICAS, ARINC 429, 629, etc...
I don't know if that is normal stuff for someone who got the A&P as an apprentice or not, but I know how I stack up to people who go to 147 schools (very favorably). I know it sounds like I've got a chip on my shoulder up there, but I really don't. I'm not looking (as all my classmates are/were) for a supervisory job making $75,000 a year, I've been looking for the still-can't-afford-the-new-radiator-for-my-truck job. Am I way off base here or something?
I think it's just that I don't know any A&Ps here (in my hometown no less). I think that would change real quick if any of the guys I knew (before I went off to college) were still here. I just don't have a reputation with anyone here (yet).
Av-you're thinking of the same place. He was interested in my flying around parts
Your prior experience doing other types of maintenance certainly isn't wasted, but isn't going to be seen as particularly valueable as an aircraft mechanic. There are some exceptions; the firm where you mentioned applying picked up a particularly valueable mechanic with a background as an auto body man; he could planish and english wheel and fiberglass about anything, and paint. In his case, it was a big boon.
For engineering purposes, unless you have a DAR, then adhere very closely to the manufacturers approved data and FAA publications, even if you think you can do it better. Trying to do it better, or work outside the approved data, is the quickest way to become unemployed I know of, short of decking the boss. (Haven't tried it yet, but have certainly been tempted). Employment aside, it's a sure way to run afoul of the FAA and the courts, so avoid that at all costs.
Your prior experience working while going to A&P school is helpful, but more for your own benifit than as a selling point to an employer. The facility you visited, for example, is a repair station that employes a large number of uncertificated mechanics. Many of these individuals, even without certification, will have far more experience in heavy maintenance and other areas than any 147 graduate, and will be extremely qualified when going for their practical test. If your prior experience had been cylinder changes, mag timing, structural repairs, and the like, it would be far more significant than oil changes and rotating tires (which are really preventative maintenance, as opposed to the real nitty gritty).
Approach employers very humbly. It feels like you have lots of experience right now, but an employer will NOT see it that way. Coming to a shop looking for work with the attitude that you're heads and shoulders above the next guy, will seem like a 600 hour commercial pilot seeking work claiming to be "high time." You see my point.
Keep beating the bushes. The work will be there. Don't worry about that. It may take some time, but it's there. Make sure you send a follow up letter to Mr. Mikus or Dubry, and tell them you're still interested, and would like every consideration. Then keep following up. They are always hiring, and you'll get more experience, and more diverse experience at that one place, than any other place in this country...because there is no other place remotely close to being like it. Good luck!!
Actually, I don't mention any of that when I talk to anyone. It's always "Got any experience?" "Pretty much no, sir." It' kinda funny, all the stuff you mentioned would be more valuable than that which I mentioned is stuff I've done lots of as well (but I figured that was just a fluke, I mean, how many airplanes out ther need that many cylinder changes?) I guess I figured they'd care about the real typical preventative maintenance stuff more as an indicator of I-don't-know-what. Shows how much I know
But I'm not really at all impatient. I've always got the handyman job I can go back to (pays pretty much nothing, but it's a TON of fun), and the FBO I worked at in the past is trying to make room for me (without me saying I was looking for a job no less). I'm not really sure that I want to work full time as an A&P right now either, but I really haven't decided that either. Who knows..I sure don't..and don't really want to (what fun would life be if we knew all the answers?)
I thank you for the words of encouragement though, I know everyone was young once (they've just forgotten what it was like ).
I'll definately be sending letters to them, at least they gave me a "shot" even with my obviously very low experience. And now I have some idea who to talk to if/when I get more experience.
Good luck. By the by...if you do end up working there, you'll be doing a LOT of cylinder changes. Those engines don't take many hours of flying without requiring a change, or an engine change, from time to time. If you get a chance to fly parts, do so, and you'll be turning wrenches quite a bit too. I hope it works out for you!
It'll be a while before I'll do that no matter what (at least a year, probably a few if I get the job I think I will now). Either way, it sure sounded like fun to me. And amazingly, I figured I'd be a wrench turning a lot more than throttle pushing, but what he said was "if we're really slow you can do some Mx, but otherwise the priority would be to fly." Wierd eh?
Wheee, life is good. I have a strong possibility of working at an auto museum here in town too. Ahh the turns life takes when we start talking to people.