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Advice

Old 1st Oct 2020, 11:33
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Advice

Hey guys, I am an ex motor mechanic/auto electrician (C&G, old school) and i was thinking of retraining to work on light G.A. aircraft. What are your thoughts, and what route would you suggest if any. Thanks, Baz
bazman62 is offline  
Old 1st Oct 2020, 13:38
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Hi Baz,
Certainly a lot of your skills and experience are transferrable to Aircraft Maintenance, I've met a couple of ex-car mechanics in the past that have successfully transitioned into the industry and turned out to be very good technicians.
In many respects a lot of the older GA aircraft have much simpler systems than your average modern car so again I don't think this is much of an issue for you.
One thing to bear in mind is that the salaries in GA tend to be very low, you might well find that you can earn more working for a franchised dealer than you would working on light aircraft.
One benefit is aircraft tend to be cleaner than cars so you'd be going home in the evening with less oil and dirt under your fingernails 😊

I'd suggest trying to find a GA company local to you and see if you could do a couple of days work experience, it would hopefully be enough to give you an insight into the job to make the decision if it's something you would like to do. They would also be able to point you in the direction of local training courses etc.

Good luck !

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Old 1st Oct 2020, 18:37
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It is certainly doable and your skills may be directly applicable to piston aeroplanes - that is, there is no formal obstacle to being hired right away. At first, you will be working as an unlicensed mechanic, which means you can't sign off your own work - a licensed technician has to check what you've done and sign it off for you. To get an aircraft maintenance license, you need 2-3 years on the job (depending on the license category you apply for and on whether your prior formal training is recognised as relevant) and about a dozen theory exams (exact number depends on the license category, too). For the exams, you may study on your own or go to school.
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Old 3rd Oct 2020, 06:57
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As others have said, you have very transferable skills for GA maintenance. However, if you really want to impress a potential employer, it might not be a bad idea to have a look at the mechanical side / structures ( I assume you would wish to become Avionics which, given your background, would be a logical path ) and ask questions that demonstrate you have an overall idea as to how aircraft are maintained and the integration of both disciplines. Basic theory of flight knowledge would also show you have a serious interest ....they wouldn't expect you to know the detail, but would be impressed if you showed a basic understanding.....well I would if I were interviewing you.

There's also one little adage you may find helps...." if a car breaks down, you pull over and call the AA / RAC..if an aircraft breaks down, you make the front page "....try and let them know you are aware of the concept and practices of Flight Safety because it underpins all your work and if you can show you are already aware, then again, your chances will be greatly enhanced.
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Old 3rd Oct 2020, 11:54
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Something you should consider is how attached you are to where you live. Automotive mechs can usually find a new job within a few miles of their last one. In aviation, career progressions usually require relocation and that could mean hundreds of miles. If you're single and don't have a mortgage that's great. Wives/partners/children don't like upheaval and I can speak from experience, especially if it means the wife/partner has a job.
And as mentioned above, the salary in General Aviation isn't that high. Even for licenced engineers it's not uncommon to be 40% less than for those on bizjets and airlines.
Unfortunately there aren't many opportunities around for anyone in aviation right now due to Covid. Good luck, though.
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Old 14th Oct 2020, 09:59
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Friend of mine started off as a motormechanic. Got a job as an aircraft handler. Helped out in hangar. Impressed the guys he was working with and was transferred on to engineering.
Got his licence, became a shift supervisor and retired as a chief engineer for a major international helicopter operator.

Ex-policeman and a storeman did exactly the same. It's about application and getting the breaks, the job in itself is not difficult.
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Old 14th Oct 2020, 10:17
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Originally Posted by ericferret View Post
Impressed the guys he was working with and was transferred on to engineering.
That's the way to go, and the best way to impress is to be a perfectionist. Specific work skills can be learned in weeks, proper attitude to work may take years.
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