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  1. #26
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    Feb 2013
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    688
    I've actually flown quite a bit over the years; everything from single engine recipricating ( bug smashers) to heavy transport ( Boeings, Airbus and McDonnell Douglas airliners), but don't have my pilot's license. I've taken the controls on actual test flights, performed takeoffs and landings in full motion simulators; they're virtually indistinguishable now from the real thing; most if not all procedure driven cockpit training is accomplished there, and have friends that own airplanes. Strangely It doesn't really do anything for me, thrill wise, so because of the cost it was never at the top of my list. I have been interested in flying helicopters, but it's double the time and triple the cost.

    The economical way to go is to join the service and get your flt training there. Also, there is such a shortage that some airlines will actually train you now; of course you're obligated to fly for them.

    There is also a more alarming airline industry shortage, a shortsge of licensed people to maintain the aircraft currently flying. Due to the obscure behind the scenes nature of this profession, the industry has not done a good job of promoting it self. Instead it relied on the military to pump out most of the maintainers, and that's where most of us came from. The average age is mid fifty, so we'll all be gone soon. However, the military has not promoted it either, so that coupled with the fact that they have only a small fraction of the aircraft they had 30 years ago, is the reason the airline industry is hitting the panic button.

    The reason I'm getting sidetracked, and into all this is: I'm an aircraft mechanic; we're called aircraft maintenance technicians now. I've worked for several commuter/regional and major airlines over the years. Because of the unstable nature of the passenger airlines caused by 1980s deregulation, I switched to a major cargo airline; same planes, same regulations, in 1997. In addition to that I'm an industry advocate, and work for a community college that has an aviation maintenance technology program, as well as the FAA as a designated mechanic examineriner administering the airframe and powerplant license required to touch an aircraft. In a little over a year you can be licensed and wrenching for an airline; earning great pay and bennys, maybe even banging a flight attendant.

    I've been meaning to put this out to everyone here. If anyone likes working with their hands and is technically minded, or knows anyone; kids, grandkids or friends, this is food for thought about career planning.
    Last edited by tango uniform; 09-19-2019 at 05:45 AM.

  2. #27
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    Nov 2002
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    6,007
    Mountain aviation is ridiculously awesome but the costs are pretty sizable. I know a handful of longtime general aviation pilots that have switched to paragliding, power paragliding and ultralights simply because they get more airtime for less money. That said, I have a handful of friends that are airplane mechanics, traveling helicopter mechanics, flight instructors, glider instructors, charter pilots, etc. and they all seem to make decent money working in the industry outside of the big commercial airlines and airports.

  3. #28
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    Sep 2001
    Location
    The Cone of Uncertainty
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    46,990
    @ TU: ^^^ we need a "like" button.

  4. #29
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    Feb 2013
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    688
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    Mountain aviation is ridiculously awesome but the costs are pretty sizable. I know a handful of longtime general aviation pilots that have switched to paragliding, power paragliding and ultralights simply because they get more airtime for less money. That said, I have a handful of friends that are airplane mechanics, traveling helicopter mechanics, flight instructors, glider instructors, charter pilots, etc. and they all seem to make decent money working in the industry outside of the big commercial airlines and airports.
    There are many different directions to go in the aviation maintenance tech field. What's more is that the skills are highly transportable; a percentage of our students go to work outside the industry; maintaining and repairing all types of precision equipment in all types of manufacturing/industrial settings etc. You don't have go the major airline route like I did. The shortage spans general, corporate and manufacturing aviation as well. Some airlines are offering insane signing bonuses as well; one kid just got 22k to sign for 3 years with an Amercan Airline regional in the up of MI. All airlines are pretty much offering some kind of incentive to work on their planes; there has been no better time to enter this industry.

    This program offers a broad range of hands on and classroom covering the whole spectrum, with the hands on being one of the top programs in the country. It's a great option for someone that wants a life long trade for a small time investment; 1 year. Plus the cost is one of the cheapest in the country; for 16000.00 + 1125.00 for testing, you get the training and a snap on roll away full of tools. It also has all applicable financial aid and housing.

  5. #30
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    Nov 2002
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    Eagle River Alaska
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    10,909
    Well I got a professional level job for half the winter, so by moving back in with the parents and forgoing a season pass (I'll just ski BC) I should be able to afford about 20 hours this winter. I've already taken ground school. Hopefully next summer I'll catch enough fish to buy a semi decent t-craft.

    The key thing is: after owning a boat, I've decided flying is cheap.

    (If you've owned a boat you know)
    Its not that I suck at spelling, its that I just don't care

  6. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    5,297
    Quote Originally Posted by tango uniform View Post
    There are many different directions to go in the aviation maintenance tech field. What's more is that the skills are highly transportable; a percentage of our students go to work outside the industry; maintaining and repairing all types of precision equipment in all types of manufacturing/industrial settings etc. You don't have go the major airline route like I did. The shortage spans general, corporate and manufacturing aviation as well. Some airlines are offering insane signing bonuses as well; one kid just got 22k to sign for 3 years with an Amercan Airline regional in the up of MI. All airlines are pretty much offering some kind of incentive to work on their planes; there has been no better time to enter this industry.

    This program offers a broad range of hands on and classroom covering the whole spectrum, with the hands on being one of the top programs in the country. It's a great option for someone that wants a life long trade for a small time investment; 1 year. Plus the cost is one of the cheapest in the country; for 16000.00 + 1125.00 for testing, you get the training and a snap on roll away full of tools. It also has all applicable financial aid and housing.
    Where is your program located? Seems like a really good gig.
    Live Free or Die

  7. #32
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    Feb 2013
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    688
    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    Well I got a professional level job for half the winter, so by moving back in with the parents and forgoing a season pass (I'll just ski BC) I should be able to afford about 20 hours this winter. I've already taken ground school. Hopefully next summer I'll catch enough fish to buy a semi decent t-craft.

    The key thing is: after owning a boat, I've decided flying is cheap.

    (If you've owned a boat you know)
    Then get your A&P license so you can maintain your own plane; at least do your own 100 hours. With a little more training, and jumping through a few more hoops for the FAA you can even do your own annual. It would also be a lucrative rating to have, because of all the ga up there.

  8. #33
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    Feb 2013
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    688
    Quote Originally Posted by AdironRider View Post
    Where is your program located? Seems like a really good gig.
    Mohawk Valley Community College, It is at the Rome NY campus; (RME airport); the old Griffiss Airforce base. There's 2 ski hills less than 30 minutes away too. One gets huge lake affect dumps regularly.

  9. #34
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    on the banks of Fish Creek
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    1,361
    Whens the next class start?

  10. #35
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    Feb 2013
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    688
    Quote Originally Posted by m2711c View Post
    Whens the next class start?
    January 2020, then August 2020; right now there are only two a year, but we have done three; starting one in May. It's 0800-1630 Monday through Friday; all school holidays off; totalling 1944 hours.

  11. #36
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Posts
    60
    Can you give a payscale estimate? Indeed and others online always seem jacked to me- it certainly is for my current industry. https://www.indeed.com/salaries/Airc...ician-Salaries

  12. #37
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    9,278
    ^^One would think that (with all the $$ at stake, and that you can't just pull over onto the side of the road if something goes wrong) an airplane mechanic would make more than a auto mechanic?
    "timberridge is terminally vapid" -- a fortune cookie in Yueyang

  13. #38
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    Nov 2002
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    Eagle River Alaska
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    10,909
    Quote Originally Posted by tango uniform View Post
    Then get your A&P license so you can maintain your own plane; at least do your own 100 hours. With a little more training, and jumping through a few more hoops for the FAA you can even do your own annual. It would also be a lucrative rating to have, because of all the ga up there.
    It's definitely something I'll consider, would be helpful maintaining my boat too.
    Its not that I suck at spelling, its that I just don't care

  14. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
    18,013
    I was at a party talking to an MD I had just met a bit of a kidder and with a straight face tells me he has AID's

    One of those wtf do you say to that moments ?

    After a 15 sec pause for effect he explains

    Aviation Induced Divorce
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  15. #40
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    Jan 2017
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    on the banks of Fish Creek
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    1,361
    Quote Originally Posted by tango uniform View Post
    January 2020, then August 2020; right now there are only two a year, but we have done three; starting one in May. It's 0800-1630 Monday through Friday; all school holidays off; totalling 1944 hours.

    I take it that this is a piss test kind of job?

  16. #41
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    Feb 2013
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    688
    Quote Originally Posted by m2711c View Post
    I take it that this is a piss test kind of job?
    Yes, you'll want to give yourself a good 90 days before graduation

  17. #42
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    Aug 2006
    Posts
    5,297
    To which, of all the piss test jobs out there, I'd say this one requires it the most.
    Live Free or Die

  18. #43
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    Oct 2005
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    8,125
    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    Well I got a professional level job for half the winter, so by moving back in with the parents and forgoing a season pass (I'll just ski BC) I should be able to afford about 20 hours this winter. I've already taken ground school. Hopefully next summer I'll catch enough fish to buy a semi decent t-craft.

    The key thing is: after owning a boat, I've decided flying is cheap.

    (If you've owned a boat you know)
    If it flies, floats, or fucks, rent it. Cheaper in the long run.

  19. #44
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    566
    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post

    The key thing is: after owning a boat, I've decided flying is cheap.

    (If you've owned a boat you know)
    Oof. Good luck with that. My dad flies, and has a pump gas STC so he can skip the aviation fuel. He's flying about as cheaply as possible, but even the simplest aircraft are expensive to maintain. Get to the point of needing an engine overhaul or rebuild and you're looking at tens of thousands of dollars.

  20. #45
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    Nov 2002
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    Eagle River Alaska
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    10,909
    Quote Originally Posted by Conundrum View Post
    If it flies, floats, or fucks, rent it. Cheaper in the long run.
    Meh, boat makes me money... It's just insane how much money flows through the local economy due to salmon.
    Its not that I suck at spelling, its that I just don't care

  21. #46
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    Feb 2013
    Posts
    688
    Quote Originally Posted by Garbowski View Post
    Can you give a payscale estimate? Indeed and others online always seem jacked to me- it certainly is for my current industry. https://www.indeed.com/salaries/Airc...ician-Salaries
    The pay scale on the link is accurate, however does not include any airlines, and doesn't address geography. What I'm currently seeing in regional and major airlines pay is: low to high 20s /hr to start with top out scales in the mid 30s to mid 60s/hr; plus benefits. Every other area of the aviation maintenance industry has a much broader pay range, and is affected by many factors. Bottom line is if you take the airline route you're almost garanteed 6 figure pay, plus benefits; not bad for 1 year of trade school, and no mechanical or technical background.

  22. #47
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    Feb 2013
    Posts
    688
    Quote Originally Posted by Timberridge View Post
    ^^One would think that (with all the $$ at stake, and that you can't just pull over onto the side of the road if something goes wrong) an airplane mechanic would make more than a auto mechanic?
    This comparison is often made, however it's not apples to apples. In my opinion, the only area of aviation maintenance, coming anywhere close, is general aviation maintenance performed at an FBO; flate rate scale based on job or labor hour, or only a senior, top level, specially trained handful of techs at Auto dealers breaking into 6 figures.

    There's of course exceptions, or emerging trends that could skew the figures I gave, nonetheless, if researched in detail, would still be pretty close.

  23. #48
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cambridge, MA/Jackson, WY
    Posts
    454
    I started last July and passed my private checkride in November. I was planning to do an instrument this summer until the FBO lost an engine in the plane I had been renting and would have used. This month, I’ve been flying a Husky and working on my tailwheel endorsement.

    Our little airport is a whole lot of fun. We have a 7300’x100’ runway with a 2000’ grass strip off to the side at 6300’ and right next to the mountains. There is a fleet of privately owned jet warbirds. Yesterday, there were two L-39s and an A-4 flying around.

    Strangely enough, you can buy hangar lots (no lease from the municipality) and you can build an apartment inside a hangar.

  24. #49
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    colorady
    Posts
    1,207
    I'm commercial rotorcraft and was a CFI/CFII rotorcraft. Fell out of it during the recession, ended up in a totally different field. Still paying it off though. Trying to get back into it with some fixed wing add-ons but dealing with the FAA medical dance right now. Gotta make sure I can get and keep a medical before spending a dime more.

    Flying for a hobby is great, but only if you have money to burn. Staying current can be tough, staying proficient even tougher if just flying for fun.

    The airlines are begging for pilots right now and pay has been going up. It can be a boom/bust industry, booming right now worldwide. Lots of ways it could get sideways though.

    Strangely enough, you can buy hangar lots (no lease from the municipality) and you can build an apartment inside a hangar.
    Always wanted to do this^^. Wife won't have it, but talk about a great way to get an amazing man-cave. There were a few for sale at the airport in Victor, ID.

  25. #50
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    6,007
    Always wanted to do this^^. Wife won't have it, but talk about a great way to get an amazing man-cave. There were a few for sale at the airport in Victor, ID.
    Yeah, there are! That Victor airport is a bit of a model for my dream set up. There is another fly-in community between Clifton and Delta that is pretty sweet. I want the shop/hanger/apartment with the paramotor/ultralight field out back. Again, my wife isn't into it as a primary residence. I am considering operating it as a rental property (VRBO getaway/ranchette) and or contractor storage initially. I've got my eye on a couple parcels.

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