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Subject: Recruiting / Retention of A&Ps
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Mech/PilotUser is Offline
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03/21/2012 1:39 AM  
At the Gen Av Ass'n's Town Hall Mtg at HAI, there was a lot of hand-wringing about the difficulty in attracting new talent to the industry, but there was a bit of dancing around the issue of what we need, maybe to not offend the big Operators. I DON'T have a problem with Operators working from a sense of Profit Motive, but several of them I've been around ( not all ) seemed fairly short-sighted in investing in the quality of their Maint cultures. Granted, some of us are our craft's own worst enemy. I could spend hours on the subject of underachievers-&-proud-of-it, so I'll save that for later. I'm not looking to start a Mech's labor union or especially not to demonize businessmen. I've tried on both hats, & am in search of the happy medium, a win-win culture. SO...I'm looking to start a healthy dialogue on the subject. I'll be adding to this thread various issues I've found over the years.
rotor17User is Offline
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03/21/2012 12:53 PM  
All about the money. When I started my first A&P job I made $8.50... that was 1997. I was immediately disappointed as I had previously worked construction and made at least $10/hr. You can name alot of problems and solutions to good A&P's but only one will surface as the most important...$$$. If you pay them, they will come. We need to have shop labor rates above auto rates...and no more shaving the labor hours because the owner won't pay... that's crap. Maybe people need to realize the real cost of ownership. Some things can be deferred, but if you want quality maintenance and work... pay up! $350. for an annual on a 172.... no longer! It's the only time it comes in all year! I don't care if it only flew 20 hours last year, that is worth at least $1000 before parts and fix it's.
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03/21/2012 4:21 PM  
Yeah, the standard of living & quality of life are the bottom line. AGAIN, I DON'T have a problem with Operators having a Profit Motive; otherwise, WHY WORK?

Equally important to me are the honesty/integrity of the leadership ( NOTICE I didn't say MGMT ! ) I have voted with my feet on several occasions when it became clear to me that creative writing about Maint was more important than PERFORMING Maint. I'll expound on pencil-whippers in future posts.

My big beef paywise with the Big 3 in the GOM was the way they way they credited Military experience, even tho by the time I got to the Gulf I wasn't harmed by their "calculus".

I'll qualify my argument first by making it clear my understanding that not all Mil Aviation Mechs are the same.

If Mikey the Newbie Mech ( using male gender only bcoz I'm lazy; Women in Av are COOL ! ) was a Left Aft Wheel Bearing Repacker or Audio Panel Display Windexer on C-17s or F35s, I'd have little choice but to expect him to be as skilled as a student in most A&P schools, unless he showed Training Jackets with documentation of MEANINGFUL cross-training, OR, unless of course he was a UH-1N or Pavelow/Pavehawk type.

If he was a -60 or -47 Crew Chief, I'd be more sympathetic, realizing that if he was flying non-stop & running against Crew Day limitations, he might've been throwing his logbooks ( or laptops ) to the Dyn Corp / L3 guys, & hitting the hooch. I'd HAVE to give this guy at least half-credit for his time on types that I'm not working with, unless of course we were operating the civilian equivalents of these airframes. If he was a Kiowa guru & I was operating 206/407, guess what...his time counts!

If he was a Sgt Crew Chief on Hueys from the USMC, with 10 yrs experience on the H-1 family, every NATOPS qual possible for his rank, AND I was operating 212/412, I'd give him full credit.

Or..a Sgt Crew Chief on Frogs / Ospreys /Sh!tters with 6 yrs experience, & a bulging NATOPS Jacket as above, I'd start him with at least half-time credit during a probabtionary period to get him up to speed on the 212/412, S-76, 206/407s, at that particular Company, with a PROMISE for accelerated pay scale steps for good work.

Now here's my soapbox: both of these last 2 humans had gone thru A&P Testing Cram Courses at the end of their enlistments & gotten licensed. They were BOTH credited with a FEW MONTHS of experience for the time that they held A&P Licenses!

They each got the big green weenie! ( non-tactical IMRON-painted, of course ).

Both of these individuals were EXTREMELY sharp, self-motivated, & driven to learn & excel. They got stiffed & it was just too bad. I was still fairly new to the GOM at the time, but with 20 yrs as A&P, plus IA, so I didn't know how ALL the GOM operators treated Mechs. The general consenus among the old leads we worked with with was that all the big operators had an "unwritten agreement" to play this game.

AGAIN, I'm NOT out to demonize businessmen, & at the same time I'm not real tolerant of overpaid- or unteachable- incompetence but this was clearly abuse of two really good hands.
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03/21/2012 4:31 PM  
BTW, I'm posting this on both the JH & VR Forum sites to get a healthy dialogue going.
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03/22/2012 9:23 PM  
...AND said 2 good hands were multiple-tour Combat Veterans. They'd signed that blank check to Uncle Sugar, & out their arses on the line...
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03/22/2012 9:25 PM  
...put...their arses..
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03/22/2012 10:34 PM  
So...then there was an outfit that paid a so-so day rate for Field, & so-so hourly for the CRS at "homeplate". Something else had fallen thru & the savings were getting thin, so I made what seemed like a decent decision to go with a "Big" outift that seemed stable.

They paid straight-time Day Rate for extra hitches- oh well, it was still additional income, BUT they'd pay mileage for your commute to work ( up to the distance to Base from "homeplate" ), & their Per Diem for Field work was more than most others paid, so it seemed to be good fatih effort on their part.

Then lo & behold after a few hitches, I figured out the rest of the story...the pilots got flown in, given individual rent-a-cars & paid time & a half Day Rate for extra hitches. They were NOT a unionized work group on the property...so that was nice of the employer...but what were we- chopped liver..?

I eventually voted with my feet, for a LOT more reasons than that.
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03/22/2012 10:43 PM  
So...then there was an outfit that paid a so-so day rate for Field, & so-so hourly for the CRS at "homeplate". Something else had fallen thru & the savings were getting thin, so I made what seemed like a decent decision to go with a "Big" outift that seemed stable.

They paid straight-time Day Rate for extra hitches- oh well, it was still additional income, BUT they'd pay mileage for your commute to work ( up to the distance to Base from "homeplate" ), & their Per Diem for Field work was more than most others paid, so it seemed to be good fatih effort on their part.

Then lo & behold after a few hitches, I figured out the rest of the story...the pilots got flown in, given individual rent-a-cars & paid time & a half Day Rate for extra hitches. They were NOT a unionized work group on the property...so that was nice of the employer...but what were we- chopped liver..?

I eventually voted with my feet, for a LOT more reasons than that. I worked my nads off for em, just the same, bcoz that's who I am...
AeroAervantUser is Offline
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07/27/2012 10:30 PM  
Can I add to your money story...

I graduated from Spartan School of Aeronautics in 1988. In 1990 I was finally hired by an airline, paying $8 per hour. My second airline paid $11 per hour and all my moving costs and room & board expenses for 3 months. My third airline paid to house me and train me, then paid $8.50 an hour for shift work. After each company successivley went bust I was hired by the next, the last ending in 1999. After 3 A&P jobs in 10 years I was still where I started - broke and unemployed. I had enjoyed the Airplanes, School, and PEOPLE I worked shift with, even the extensive travel (I was single).

I went to truck driver school on a 100% government grant and was hired by a local owner who put me to work earning $600 per week. Moving up to a bigger truck and $900 per week. In 2007 he put me on a new contract and paid me $1200 per week (working 70 hours). Then the sky high fuel prices and the tanked economy. In November 2009 he lost the contract, and I lost my down payment on a new truck, then my job.

Business really is all about money. Even when you work hard, it may not pay.

What is on my horizon?

I have returned to college for my BS degree and I am looking for a way to revitalize my A&P (after 12 years away) to work on helicopters.

Does anyone have a word of advice for me? Should I do this? CAN I do this?
navyamhUser is Offline
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01/07/2013 5:09 PM  
Any new mechanic, whether fresh out of an A&P school or just out of the military, should be told that they will be the most important cog in the wheel. Then they should tell them, that they will be the least appreciated, worst treated and underpaid employee. They should be told, that any of the office people are more important than they are and that a qualified aircraft mechanic, can be found at anytime, either in jail or at the local bar. My advice after 35 years of this garbage is to find a different line of work.
Mech/PilotUser is Offline
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01/08/2013 12:23 PM  
To Aero Aervant: With apologies for not checking back sooner. The market forces that sent you & legions of others seeking greener pastures has resulted in a building shortage of Certificated Airmen of all types. So...it's not a terrible time to get back into Aviation. Let the buyer beware, because not all Operators are created equal...
toddspuriscalUser is Offline
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02/10/2013 1:58 PM  
After almost 36 years I tend to agree with navyamh. If you can afford it, (or have someone else pay for it!) go get the A&P training and then go work in a field where they will appreciate you and your technical savvy - and pay you well and treat you like a valued employee and a pro!!

---- And let's all us A&P types types write letters to the Editors of the aviation mags and tell them to quit running the annual articles about "where are the next generation of A&Ps" until they will tell it like it is.
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