The civilian guys that work in my hanger on our UH60's make upwards of $20 an hour and I think they regularly get overtime. They don't have A&P's either. Most of them just have former military experience.
Honestly if you love aviation I would do one thing first and that is get a college degree. If you have the aptitude get one in aeronautical engineer or electrical engineering. If you can't handle the math and science then just get a degree. Once you have the degree then pursue a career in aviation. You can always get a job while you are going to school at a local airport, where you can hang out with the old mechanics and pilots. And by hanging out with these guys you will get a feel for the jobs and see if it is what you want. The bottom line is…life is so much easier with a degree.
If pay is your primary motivation, I agree with the others here that some other mechanic job would be better. You can, however make a decent living as an A&P. I've always gotten a lot of satisfaction out of seeing the A/C I inspect/repair out flying around.
A bunch of guys I went to school went towards the GA side and started out at about $20/hr and were making closer to $25/hr a year later. Personally, I love where I'm at and would probably tell the mainlines "thanks but no thanks". Perhaps in a few years when aviation gets back on it's feet and layoffs become a thing of the past. I guess that's the tradeoff, go to the majors and make pretty good $$ but sweat your job every time the price oil goes up, or go to the regionals where you won't get rich but will have a sense of job security.
Are you aware of the upgrade that is going on with the Piper Warrior? In essence they are changing the warrior to an archer by upgrading the engine from 160hp to 180hp at the overhaul.
The upgrade that they quote is 0-360-A4M and done under STC:SA1842NM . Does anyone know anything about this? Things like: Is it leagal? How is the cost compared to a regular overhaul? Once done how is the fuel consumption? Any other info would be helpful. Thanks
That's a bit of a leap to go from the subject of the thread, how mechanics like being mechanics, to asking about an engine STC. But since you asked...
An STC is a Supplemental Type Certificate. Your aircraft is issued a type certificate when it's creation is first blessed by the FAA. You can look at this as it's birth certificate. It's also it's authorization to "be." Any changes to the type design need approval, and this can be done by adding a supplemental type certificate to the original type certificate. When an STC is added, the new configuration or modification is made legal. Thus, to answer your question, if the FAA has issued an STC for your new engine, then yes, it's legal.
Along those same lines, adding a STC doesn't change your airplane from a warrior to an archer. It was born a warrior, and a warrior it shall remain. A warrior with an STC for a bigger engine. The original type certificate doesn't change, any more than cramming two more seats in a Robinson R22 would make it an R44. It's just a warrior with a bigger engine.
I haven't seen the STC, but I would assume that the STC authorizes the installation of a different engine, not merely upgrading the cubic inches for the existing engine. In other words, you aren't overhauling the engine into having more horsepower. You're waiting until overhaul time when you're going to pay to get more work done, and you're putting an entirely different engine on the airplane...and if it's done via STC, then yes, it's legal. A lot of light airplanes have such modifications. A really popular one is going from the 0-320 in the Cessna 172 to an 0-360...the 180 hp 172 is a great little airplane.
If you want to be a wrench....or a pilot for that matter. Take what Avbug has to say to heart. This is one tought industry...It take a huge amount of personal responsibility and plain good luck to be sucsessful.
Not that it isn't worth it...it is just a hard row to hoe.