Flight Training - August 2021 - 43

ADVANCED PILOT CAREER SPOTLIGHT
BY IAN J. TWOMBLY
PROBLEM SOLVERS
MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS
KEEP 'EM FLYING
YOU'VE HEARD THERE'S A PILOT SHORTAGE, but did you know that maintenance
technicians are also in high demand? For someone who loves being
around airplanes, solving problems, and helping to keep the fleet flying, a
career as an aviation maintenance technician can be highly rewarding.
Job options for AMTs are almost as varied as those for pilots. They
work on turbine engines, piston engines, aircraft structures and systems,
and avionics. Jobs can be found at small flight schools, large service centers,
aircraft manufacturers, and airlines.
Technicians who work on aircraft aren't required to have an airframe
and powerplant certificate. Those certifications are required for the person
who returns the aircraft to service. In effect, that means landing a job at a
shop doesn't require any special certification. Shop owners, especially those
who run small or mid-size operations, often are willing to take a chance
on someone without formal schooling. They teach the technician under an
apprentice-type arrangement, where a seasoned A&P instructs and then
supervises. " It's very expensive, " said Paul New, owner of Tennessee Aircraft
Services. New has hired many technicians without an A&P certificate, and he
said it can take years for the person to be fully independent. Everything the
tech does the first time must be taught and supervised.
You'd think a maintenance technician degree with an A&P certificate
would be beneficial, but New said even recent graduates go through a similar
supervision process. Even experienced A&Ps must be familiar with the
environment. A former airline mechanic may know nothing about piston
engines, for example, despite having years of experience and a certificate.
This arrangement is difficult on shops, but a great benefit for people
eager to move into the field. It provides an opportunity to make money and
get your hands dirty on the first day, and work toward a certificate while
on the job. Others may find jobs straight out of A&P school with airlines,
manufacturers, and other large operations.
QUALIFICATIONS
Some demonstrable mechanical aptitude
is a must, even if it's a history of working
on cars, tractors, or lawnmowers. Larger
operations, including airlines and fleet operators,
will likely require an A&P certificate.
BENEFITS
Find where you fit. Airlines have benefits,
union representation, stable income, and
predictable hours. Smaller shops present
a new challenge every day, the ability to
work on different aircraft, and the chance
to work closely with highly experienced
technicians.
DRAWBACKS
Not many. Shops aren't always the most
comfortable environments, and customers
can sometimes be challenging, but
overall the work is rewarding.
PAY
It varies regionally, but expect $18 to $25
an hour to start, working up to as much
as six figures at the right company.
For someone who is eager to work hard, wants
to be around airplanes all day, and loves to diagnose,
fix, and repair mechanical or digital systems, the
prospects these days are very strong. FT
ian.twombly@aopa.org
AOPA.ORG/FT
43
CHRIS ROSE
http://www.AOPA.ORG/FT

Flight Training - August 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - August 2021

Contents
Flight Training - August 2021 - Intro
Flight Training - August 2021 - Cover1
Flight Training - August 2021 - Cover2
Flight Training - August 2021 - Contents
Flight Training - August 2021 - 2
Flight Training - August 2021 - 3
Flight Training - August 2021 - 4
Flight Training - August 2021 - 5
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Flight Training - August 2021 - Cover3
Flight Training - August 2021 - Cover4
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