Posts Tagged ‘ inspection ’

GEESH…It’s December Already!

It’s been a turbulent year for me, to be honest…I went through no less than three jobs as an aircraft mechanic before finding the one I’m actually happiest doing (instructing maintenance), and it was mainly because I became disenfranchised by the industry.  Somewhere along the way (beginning about 5 years ago), I lost the hunger to be around airplanes when my work became mundane, routine, and financially limiting.  Inspections, for example, are what I know pretty well.  There is no better way than by doing an inspection to get to know an airplane inside and out.  It’s also boring as hell (to me) after about the third time around, because nothing changes.  Some people thrive on doing the same thing over and over again, becoming an expert in that task or area…not me.  I get bored too easily.  Goal

The other area of aircraft maintenance is called “line maintenance”–it is an entirely different set of tasks, very time-sensitive work.  The pressure is on when you’ve got a plane full of people staring at you, trying to literally will you to fix the plane so they can leave town–and you don’t even know what the problem really is yet.  This type of work tests your mettle as a mechanic, because it is very much systems-based troubleshooting that you need to be good at.  I enjoy this area of maintenance, though I’m not particularly good at it.  Regardless, the money isn’t there.  When I’ve got 12 people in the lobby waiting on their private jet to be ready to fly–12 peoples’ lives in my hands–and I’m not even making $50K a year to do it, the money-to-responsibility ratio just isn’t there for me.  At that point I am beholden to everyone but God to do things right, or 12 families will be devastated, and I’m not making good money as an eight year mechanic?  Not worth the time, in my opinion.

The last half of this year has been wonderful (though slow) and filled with experiences I haven’t had before.  I earned my real estate license, managed to find my first clients (or rather, they found me), and I’m working my tail off to make sure they are well taken care of, in addition to working full-time as an instructor.  I honestly don’t even know where the last few months have gone.  I’m pretty introspective by nature, but the last time I really took stock of my life, it was July!

I can’t wait to see where this next year takes me.  I will make the switch to doing real estate full time as soon as I can–the more I talk about it casually with friends at parties, the easier it comes to me.  A full-time real estate agent works hard, but literally gets paid to talk to people–something I’ve been doing naturally (and for free) since I was a kid.

I hope that your holidays are happy and bountiful.  My family is Italian, and I’m genuinely grateful every year that I get to make it to Christmas dinner.  Only if you’ve been there can you appreciate the food–the homemade pasta and meatballs, the pizzelles and cannoli…oh man, it’s really a great way to culminate a whole year’s worth of working hard and taking care of business.  I hope you get to have endless amounts of your family’s Soul Food, and I hope that everyone who comes in from out of town is safe and sound doing so.

As we roll down the calendar to the New Year (provided we make it past December 21st), I hope that things in your life are going how you planned them to be.  Mine are right now, but not without some significant time and effort on my part.  In order to break out of the norm and steer your life toward wealth, health, more friends, less drama, convenience, or fulfillment…it really does take work.  Not, “Well, I hope this happens” kind of work, but real, hard, “This is what I need to do to start getting there” work.  If you’re already there, God bless you.

I hope this post finds you all well, and there will be more to come.  In the event that I miss you, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year 🙂



Inspection Authorization

While I was at my last job, I found not one but an uncommon four IAs in the hangar.  (As the title of this post implies, “IA” stands for “Inspection Authorization.”  It is the highest rating you can achieve in the aviation maintenance arena, and enables you privileges to inspect and sign for the airworthiness of work that you are not authorized to as a regular Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Technician.)  The company had sent three of these guys to school, and one guy had already been hired on with his own.  I asked them all individually how they did it (how they enjoyed the school, or if it might be worth it to buy a computer course different from the two-inch-thick book they have to study from), and the resounding answer from the one guy I seemed to have the most in common with was simply to study the book and take the test on my own.  I’m a self-starter, so I went out and bought the book from one of the authorities in aviation test prep, ASA.  At three DVD cases thick, it’s a hefty mother!

So.  Why the quest for an Inspection Authorization?  Well, every A&P Technician has his own reasons.  Some like the prestige, some will use it to start or augment their own business, and some companies will pay more if you have it.  Mostly, I just like to learn.  I am ready to earn the driest, most responsibility- (and liability-) laden rating that aircraft maintenance has to offer because I simply want to learn as much as possible, and become as professional as I can be.

While I’m a big believer of the adage, “You are the company you keep,” I have also come to believe that it’s important to be worthy of the kind of company I would want to keep me.

Do you see in the photo of the magnifying glass, how the classifieds are blown up but still very, very blurry?  Thats how my first crack at this test prep book has been so far.  Everything crammed into one place to be studied:  Every FAA regulation, covering every kind and classification of aircraft, and every kind of part replacement or structure repair…oh yes, it’s all there, and while I’m not intimidated, I am facing a long, difficult road of memorization.  My wife might be ready to take her own IA test by the time we’re done with it!  Of course, as I am well-prepared to study for FAA tests–after all, I had to master the answers of nearly 5,000 possible questions (though only tested over 250 of them), all crammed into books like this one, to get my Airframe and Powerplant Licenses.  As an IA, I’ll have traded my wrenches, sockets and screwdrivers for a good flashlight, and a mirror and magnifying glass.  I’m looking forward to it.

I wonder if I could get this done by the New Year?  I suppose time will tell…stay tuned!

PS–Any one who is an IA have any tips for the test, or leads on jobs at which to use it?  Feel free to drop me a line!



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