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  1. #1
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    Default Advice on Becoming a Mechanic at this Point

    TL;DR: I'm older, I want to fix planes, I don't want to move, I want to work my way into this somehow.

    I'm going to preface this with the fact that I'm 37, I pretty much have my dream home, as modest as that dream was, and my first child will be here in a month. About a year ago I decided that I hate where I'm at in life, career wise, and that I need to work on, with, or around planes. Sometimes I go to the local airport (KPDK) on lunch break and just about envy the guys parking Citations for $12 an hour. So a mechanic I know told me that I should try to get a Support Mechanic job and test out in 3 years. Like that would be the easiest way to break in... at Delta. (Kind of funny now after reading how hard its supposed to be to get into Delta, especially Atlanta.) Trouble is, there are no repairman, helper, support mechanic openings that I can find locally, at any shops or airports. Relocation is not an option for me, but you'd think being next to the busiest airport in the world plus 5 or 6 decently busy GA airports, there would more openings. But it seems like there are a lot of options if I already had my A&P. The only 147 school within a drivable distance from my work would be AIM in Duluth, GA. I've read mixed things about it and its probably the more expensive route compared to a state tech school. I'm torn between waiting for an opening that might not manifest or going into debt at a school. I guess a third option would be throwing my resume at openings I'm obviously not qualified for. Just looking for suggestions and advice from those with experience. Sorry for the text wall.

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    Abaris in Griffin might have or be able to point you to entry level Composites, or Paint Positions.

    Steve
    You never have a second chance, to make a first impression

  3. #3
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    I started A&P school at 20 yrs old and have been working as a A&P for 34 yrs, all of it on large acft for the airlines. Knowing what I now know I don't think I'd want to start over at 37. Maybe you could volunteer with the Confederate (Commemorative) Air Force to help maintain their acft, they were always looking for help with the plane they kept in the Chicago area.
    Last edited by Tom Ahrendt; 05-15-2017 at 02:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Ahrendt View Post
    I started A&P school at 20 yrs old and have been working as a A&P for 34 yrs, all of it on large acft for the airlines. Knowing what I now know I don't think I'd want to start over at 37. Maybe you could volunteer with the Confederate Air Force to help maintain their acft, they were always looking for help with the plane they kept in the Chicago area.
    I might look into that, as the Commemorative Air Force has a hanger here at KFFC where I took flying lessons 20 years ago. The experience at least would be good.

    The way I see it, as retirement ages and the like keep moving up, I still have 30 years of work left before retirement. Its not so much that I want to start over, though I only have a high school diploma in my background. I wish I had decided this 10 or 15 years ago. I need to start now or never though. Or I could keep starring at the planes from this side of the airport fence for the next 30 years. I want to love a job or at least really like one.

    So tell me why you wouldn't start over again? 17 years ago at least. What do you know now?

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    It's tough to answer your question without sounding too negative. Every aspect of your career at a airline is based on seniority (hire date) so working midnights is going to happen. Most airlines repair acft 24/7, 365 days a year, holidays be damned. I can count the times my days off (rotating) have lined up with Xmas on one hand. So you're always working regardless of what's going on at home, there's a saying "One day my ship will come in and I'll be at the Airport". I'm not going to get into how management feels about mechanics.

    If you feel you can deal with the lifestyle restrictions and want to go to school full time to get a A&P license to live your dream then you should so you have no regrets. It can be a very rewarding career.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Ahrendt View Post
    It's tough to answer your question without sounding too negative. Every aspect of your career at a airline is based on seniority (hire date) so working midnights is going to happen. Most airlines repair acft 24/7, 365 days a year, holidays be damned. I can count the times my days off (rotating) have lined up with Xmas on one hand. So you're always working regardless of what's going on at home, there's a saying "One day my ship will come in and I'll be at the Airport". I'm not going to get into how management feels about mechanics.

    If you feel you can deal with the lifestyle restrictions and want to go to school full time to get a A&P license to live your dream then you should so you have no regrets. It can be a very rewarding career.
    Thank you for that, and I totally understand if you feel the need to be a little negative. I want to hear the stuff no one talks about. The stuff the A&P school is not going to tell you so that they can sell you a desk.

    I tried to keep my initial word wall down, but here is a little more background: My Father was an A&P at Delta for 33 years. I grew up with all that, loving airplanes, even visiting the TOC as a child. Dad always worked Holidays, rotating shifts. At least the first 15 years or so. To me that part is a given. In fact I feel like I will be chasing the money initially with shift differentials, OT, holiday pay, and hopefully, one day, out of town trips to fix planes in far away airports. I know my dad made that stuff sound more romantic than it is. But what stories do I have to tell 10 years into running a paint production shop. I get paint on me sometimes and my employees don't want to work? My background is full of would of, could of, and should of.

    Id rather you lay it on me about the negatives because I'm having visions of a positive career for once. At the same time, I have a list of things I never accomplished so maybe this is one?

    BTW: I have no problem with the idea of working on GA aircraft as those are cool as heck too. Maybe an airline is not my future?
    Last edited by Rogue55; 05-15-2017 at 04:13 PM. Reason: added GA stuff

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    I have 35 as a Mech.

    5 Military, 20 Regional Airline, and 10 Part 135 and 145

    GA is the most rewarding, Airlines have the money. Unless your talking fed x and UPS.

    Most of my career I made less than 50K a year. I am based in paradise, although I had to make sacrifices to do so.

    I am still in love with fixing thing, and the craft of the trade, which is slowly disappearing.

    Better than selling insurance or working retail.


    S

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue55 View Post
    Thank you for that, and I totally understand if you feel the need to be a little negative. I want to hear the stuff no one talks about. The stuff the A&P school is not going to tell you so that they can sell you a desk.

    I tried to keep my initial word wall down, but here is a little more background: My Father was an A&P at Delta for 33 years. I grew up with all that, loving airplanes, even visiting the TOC as a child. Dad always worked Holidays, rotating shifts. At least the first 15 years or so. To me that part is a given. In fact I feel like I will be chasing the money initially with shift differentials, OT, holiday pay, and hopefully, one day, out of town trips to fix planes in far away airports. I know my dad made that stuff sound more romantic than it is. But what stories do I have to tell 10 years into running a paint production shop. I get paint on me sometimes and my employees don't want to work? My background is full of would of, could of, and should of.

    Id rather you lay it on me about the negatives because I'm having visions of a positive career for once. At the same time, I have a list of things I never accomplished so maybe this is one?

    BTW: I have no problem with the idea of working on GA aircraft as those are cool as heck too. Maybe an airline is not my future?
    You never have a second chance, to make a first impression

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue55 View Post
    TL;DR: I'm older, I want to fix planes, I don't want to move, I want to work my way into this somehow.

    I'm going to preface this with the fact that I'm 37, I pretty much have my dream home, as modest as that dream was, and my first child will be here in a month.
    When times are good, its easy to get into and/or stay in a large local market. Right now, times are good. Lots of young guys without a family want to get in and are willing to go anywhere and work for low wages. This will be a stiff headwind for someone in your position in terms of opportunity and compensation requirements. Im confident that you can find exactly what you want but it may cost a lot of time and money before it happens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevbo View Post
    When times are good, its easy to get into and/or stay in a large local market. Right now, times are good. Lots of young guys without a family want to get in and are willing to go anywhere and work for low wages. This will be a stiff headwind for someone in your position in terms of opportunity and compensation requirements. Im confident that you can find exactly what you want but it may cost a lot of time and money before it happens.
    I was thinking the same thing. If i would have tried to do this even 5 years ago, moving across the country to build seniority would have been no problem. I've got a little bit of networking at the airlines, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to go to this high dollar school and get my A&P first.

    On another note, i was just reading about HAECO in Macon, ga. Anyone heard of them?

  10. #10
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    I worked at the Haeco hangar in Macon GA for 3 years and I can tell you the place is a crap hole. The work environment sucks, the management sucks, and the pay is terrible. On a more positive note, if you can put up with their BS and look out for your self first, you can really learn a lot about commercial aircraft and get yourself a decent job after a couple of years whenever you have done your time. As far as getting on out there as a mechanic without an A&P license, it's not gonna happen. However, the company has started this new program if you sign a 2 or 3 year contract saying you will work for them then they will put you thru their 2 or 3 month sheet metal program on site where they train you and employ you as an unlicensed sheetmetal mechanic making peanuts. They will assist you in getting your training needed to get signed off to take your A&P test after 36 months or however long it takes now but again, you have to sign a contract saying you will work for them for a certain number of years after they pay for your test. If you are serious about it then I can probably talk with a few people I am still in touch with and see if they would be willing to work something out because I have heard of people being hired into that new sheet metal program from McDonald's. Be aware when I say the pay is peanuts I'm talking like 11 12 bucks an hour but they train you and supply your tools free of charge. I'm am glad I left that shit hole but I wouldn't trade the experience or the things I learned for anything and there are still a bunch of good guys left out there!

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