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Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

Old 09-19-2005, 07:13 AM
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Rv7garage
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Default Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

Hi all. I'm getting ready to start A&P classes, and would like to know if there are any "potholes" to watch out for, also any advice and encouragement would be greatly appreciated. I'm hoping to be able to "specialize" in turbines.

Thanks!
Old 09-19-2005, 03:24 PM
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William Robison
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

[b]Measurements, magnaflux, dye checks, and mainly learning to understand what you read. This last is the part most people have trouble with.

Bill.
Old 09-19-2005, 08:15 PM
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Rv7garage
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

Understood. Thanks, Bill.[8D] I'm actually really excited about it, just getting the willies because of the constant state of flux that the aerospace industry is always in.... but hey, I suppose they will always need those who fix 'em.
Old 09-19-2005, 08:58 PM
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William Robison
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

[b]A commercial school for A&P will teach you enough to pass the FAA test, but you will truly still know nothing. There's not enough time to learn it all from fabric and dope, through metal work on the airframe, fixing the composite where the idiot hit the hangar door, and calibrating the replacement carb on that old O-360. And we still haven't mentioned your desire, the turbines.

You will be qualified to go to work at an FBO, doing mostly inspections and minor maintenance. Or if you go to an airline, assuming any are still in business, you'll be little more than a helper until you have proven yourself. Even then, you'll only be allowed to do minor maintenance on the engines - they are usually leased, at overhaul time, or even time for a hot section, they'll just change the engine and send it off to a central facility for the major work. So you work yourself up to being hired by, say Aviall, and you do nothing but turbine overhaul. Enjoyable for a while, maybe. Boring after a while. almost certainly.

So. Airlines, good money, boring. Here it doesn't matter if you are an A&P or a pilot. Both good money, and as boring as can be.

CRF, good money, boring. No vairety. SSDD time

FBO, a lot of variety, but no money. A good auto mechanic will make 2-3 time as much as you will.

I quit flying for pleasure because boring holes in the sky stopped being pleasure. I stopped full time wrenching too. I was getting $63/hour when I quit, yes, I had specialized, and just got tired of it. No longer needed the income anyway, I saved my pennies and nickels, and made some lucky investments.

There is an alternative. Get yourself well known, and then specialize, set yourself up as an independent on call. You'll needd a good financial cushion, but when you get going it combines travel and a gret variety of jobs to do. I'm supposedly retired, but "The Airplane Compnay" charges $300 for an estimate, work is billed at $150/hour. All charges have travel costs, motel room cost, and meals added on top of the labor charges. When I'm on a job I live free, and get paid for it. Also, I turn down as many jobs as I accept.

So there are ways to make good money without being bored, but to get there you have to starve, get bored stiff, and work your butt off, but it can be done.

I would not recommend anyone going into aviation unless he/she just HAD to do it,orwas already independently wealthy and wanted to do it pretty much as a hobby.

Sorry I ran on for so long, but this is the way I see it.

Bill.

PS: you will spend more for your tools than a doctor does for his. Just a good pair of safety wire pliers will blow $100.wr.
Old 09-19-2005, 11:31 PM
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No1RCfan
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

A&P School for me was very fun and i learned alot. but like William Robison stated they only teach you enough to pass the tests. The aviation maintenance field is very crazy, exciting, and very percise. This is a no BS field that not everyone adapts to well but i can assure you if you like taking stuff apart and putting it back together youll have no problem. The jeppesen test guides will be your best friend.
Old 09-20-2005, 11:49 AM
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Rv7garage
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

This is great advice- thanks, guys.

WR- I don't pretend to think that I will just have it all handed to me, that's for sure. What really attracts me to these A&P courses is that it seems like they will open doors, and I am very mechanically and mathematically inclined. So it seems like it could be a good challenge, and also help me in the building of my own aircraft (Van's).

It seems to me that no matter what path we choose, some people rise to the top and some sink to the bottom, and in the end it is really all about how much effort one is willing to put forth that makes the difference- me, I'm just sick to the teeth of dead-end jobs.

The aviation maintenance field is very crazy, exciting, and very percise.
No1RCfan- it's exactly that aspect of it that draws me. Thanks!
Old 09-20-2005, 12:54 PM
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William Robison
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

[b]Fly:

I hadn't thought about that, but I should have. Being able to sign the logs off on your own plane can be a real money saver, esp when you get into a more complex craft.

Yes, I know a home built can be signed off by the builder.

Bill.
Old 09-21-2005, 06:13 PM
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LearjetMech
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

DONT get caught in the "Snap-on rut". Once you get your first job, dont feel like you have to by the truck. Go to Sears and get what you can get by with. Once you get a couple of paychecks, buy what you need. Never buy what you want, or you will be working for your toolbox and snap on. Good thing about Sears is they are open everyday and you can return any Craftsman hand tool for any reason. I return screwdrivers because they have paint on them. Snap on gives you a hard time when you warranty a tool and dont walk off the truck with something new. Now I own some snap on tools. They make some things that Sears doesn't and somethings are better than others, like dikes and ratcheting screwdrivers. They are far superior. I have a guy that works for me and has a huge snap on box and it is full. He wonders why he is 40K in the hole. I'm telling you implant this in your head and stick with it. It isn't worth it. I rarely use anything bigger that 1/4" drive.

Aviation Maintenance is a passion thing. Dont do it just because it sounds cool and there might be money in it. You will lose interest quick. It is something you have to love to get up eeryday and WANT to do. Sure there will be bad days, I have them and all A&P's have and will. Some days things just dont roll in your favor. Dont let it discourage you. I'm what I like to call "inside the fence" and I dont take it for granted. I remember as a kid hanging on the airport fence watching airplanes with my dad envisioning what I could do "on the inside". Every once in a while I will see a Father and Son hanging on the fence and reminisce. I have been known to walk over and bring them in the hangar to show them around. Makes there day!! Getting harder to do that with the security.
NL
Old 09-21-2005, 07:06 PM
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No1RCfan
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

I totally agree with LearjetMech. At my A&P school snapon was out there pushing tools like crazy just to get your business when you get a job, Snap on is good tools but i recommend shopping around, there are many great brands out there that offer lifetime warranties just like snap on at a fraction of the cost. About 80% of my box is craftsman, they suit me great. i only have a few precision tools from snapon that craftsman doesnt carry. So just as a warning dont let any snapon reps get your money before you shop around. I think LearjetMech brought up a great point about tools. too many of my colleges bought all snapon right out of school and are still paying for them many years later.
Old 09-21-2005, 07:38 PM
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Rv7garage
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

No1 & Lear-- I will definitely use a grain of salt when the tool truck rolls around- thank you. I actually agree about the Craftsman thing.... many of their tools will do the job just as well for 1/3 the cost and 0% of the return hassle. As it is, the school that I have chosen requires you to buy the basic tools right from the start, but at least they offer a Snap-on and a Craftsman option.

Learjet.... yeah, I understand you. A job is a job is a job, up to a certain extent, but (and it has taken me a bit longer to figure this out than some, maybe- I'm 32) this one feels like something that I could get a real sense of satisfaction from. I will also be going back to flight training (currently PPL), and will finally get the CFII rating that my RCU handle hints to. I think that by surrounding myself with what I love (aviation) and throwing a good bit of hard work at it, then I have a shot at being something more than a cubicle monkey for the rest of my life. My wife will be starting her Masters program soon... talk about being in debt...

I've also been really leaning toward the avionics side of this whole endeavor... whaddya think?
Old 09-21-2005, 08:41 PM
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William Robison
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

[b]Fly:

For the most part I have to agree about the Sears/SnapOn thing.

But I have run into places where I absolutely could not use the Craftsman wrench, and the SnapOn worked with ease.

While the warranty from Sears is great, the material used in their tools does not have the quality of SnapOn, Mac, Matco, and so forth. Yes, if it fails they'll give you another to replace it but when it's the tool you have to have right now, and you then have to drive downtown to Sears for a replacement? Granted, if you break a SnapOn right after the tool truck left... But the Sears wrenches break a lot more often than the SnapOn, Mac, Matco tools.

What I said earlier about the SnapOn working where the Craftsman would not? This is because of the weaker metal that Sears uses - their walls are a lot thicker than SnapOn and the others, the thicker walls are needed for the strength they do have. See the two pictures attached. Both are 11mm box wrenches, the Craftsman on the left and SnapOn to the right. The difference in the wall thickness is obvious. In that tight spot with a Sears tool box? Forget it. Go borrow a SnapOn, Mac, or Matco wrench.

Yes, they are more expensive, but sometimes the saved with the cheaper tools is really money wasted.

Bill.
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Old 09-22-2005, 03:17 PM
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William Robison
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

[b]All:

Just to reinforce the price difference, Here are similar sets from SnapOn and Sears. You can almost buy ten sets from Sears for the price of the SnapOn set.

Bill.
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Old 09-22-2005, 05:42 PM
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LearjetMech
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

That is why you by "mod wrenches" from harbour freight. I have wrenches from there that are heated, bent, welded, etc just to make something fit. That is a snap-on selling point!!! Sounds like they got you too!!!!! I can mod a three dollar wrench that will work just as good and not have to worry about losing a $30 wrench!!!!! To each is his own!!
Old 09-22-2005, 06:50 PM
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

[b]LJM:

I was only talking about the wall thickness of the ring making the wrench unusable. Granted, pulling the jugs from a Jacobs radial you can grind the Sears to a thinner wall, or us a bent open end. But you need the box to tighten the Pal nuts on reassembly anyway. And grinding the Sears voids the warranty.

Specially shaped wrenches? An acetylene torch and a vise are a mechanic's best friend. Attached picture is my most complex home made special wrench. All bends were required for it to work. Took a few hours to get it right, but from then on I always had it, it knocked a couple hours off the job each time by not having to pull the fuel pump for access.

Bill.
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Old 09-22-2005, 08:05 PM
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

Ive got a couple of wrenchs that look like that in my box. Use what works. if it doesnt work make it work.
Old 09-25-2005, 03:12 AM
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

Dude I'm 36 and just entering AME in Canada, so don't feel alone.
Some of us just "do" rather than bull****.
Let's face it ........how many things do we regret in life? mostly the things we don't do?


Besidess....do we think the horse and buggy is going to make a comeback?....lets have some vision here folks...
Layoffs SHMAYoffs......**** happens....the world goes round and **** flies...which is still a great thing.



Lee
Old 11-05-2005, 08:45 PM
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feihu-RCU
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!


ORIGINAL: flycfii

................. I will also be going back to flight training (currently PPL), and will finally get the CFII rating that my RCU handle hints to. I think that by surrounding myself with what I love (aviation) and throwing a good bit of hard work at it, then I have a shot at being something more than a cubicle monkey for the rest of my life...............
I am a retired ATP, and flying is my passion.
Getting into the aviation field is difficult - no matter where you go.
The CFII rating can help a little while you are looking for a permanent flying job; but it's a high rocky mountain to climb.
After you've attained a little experience in mech or flying, you might consider looking to the goverment agencies such as NASA, FAA, or NTSB for further "on the job training" and job security - and a pension plan that won't go broke!

feihu


Old 11-07-2005, 03:39 PM
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b52guy
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Default RE: Any advice, tips, encouragement would be appreciated!

Before you go on the snapon truck – if you haven’t already - keep in mind that snapon and the other tool companies offer a student discount program of you’re enrolled in an automotive or aircraft maintenance school. In many cases, you can purchase at 50% off of their list price. Most Snapon guys won’t tell you this because what they really want is your money. It’s best to check the snapon website first since many of the trucks have higher prices to pay for their trucks, gas, etc… Snapon discount program is somewhat limited, MACTO also has one which gives you a better selection but is also limited.

I found that MAC Tools has probably the best student discount program with little strings attached. It’s all 50% off their website price and you can either go through their 1-800 number or find a local MAC tools dealer to order.

There’s also a Mac dealer in Virginia who’s also a retired aircraft mechanic and designed an A&P starter kit just for beginner students. It’s a sweet deal and he also allowed me to customize this to my needs and everything arrived in a week.

Oh, by the way, when I went to warranty some of my Craftsman tools but they wouldn’t warranty them because they said it applies only to home use and since I’m working in an industrial environment the warranty doesn’t apply. So, the lesson learned is when you go to Craftsman, don’t tell them it broke on the job.

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