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Subject: military to civilian
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jasonpalmer3User is Offline
JH Newbie
JH Newbie

04/16/2008 1:11 AM  
I currently work on UH-60L Blackhawks. I'm Getting ready to get out of the military soon. I was wondering if anyone had any tips on the best way to get in the civilian work force. I have my A&P license but don't feel thats enough. If anyone has advice it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Jason
rotor17User is Offline
JH Veteran
JH Veteran

04/16/2008 1:18 PM  
You're best option is to get on with the National Guard. If you just can't stand to do that.... understand you will make less money in the civilian world (mostly due to lack of benefits). You will also work longer, harder, and be gone from home more in the civilian world... if you still want to go that route.. just start looking in the advertising sections.. helicopter companies can't find enough mechanics right now.. good luck
cartoonfaceUser is Offline
JH Newbie
JH Newbie

04/16/2008 7:52 PM  
OK I have exactly what info you need. How? Been there done it. You need to learn the following. The difference between LINE maintenance and HANGAR maintenance. What the role of QA is in both those above mentioned areas. You need to UNDERSTAND the maintenance requirements of different FAA Parts. 91, 141 and especially 135. You need to DEMONSTRATE good troubleshooting techniques...not just reading a manual from memory. If you truely understand how systems work....you can work on anything from a Robby to a TRACTOR. Airframes vary greatly and that is someyhing you'll just have to go thru the learning curve on (even if you go to a factory school ) but if you portray confidence and INTEGRITY!!!!1! you'll beat the competition. After all that....it's a sales pitch to get the salary you can get. Luck and safety to you my fellow veteran and Thanks! Thanks for puttin in the time! Marty
MarshmechUser is Offline


04/16/2008 9:44 PM  
Jason, The best thing to do is to start putting in applications; your A&P is all you need to get a job in the civilian world. Do you want to work gulf coast or have a job where you can go home every night? It can be hard on families with small children or a new wife to work away from home. The GOM operators don’t have the family support that the Army has. If you do want to go for the GOM, contact PHI and Air Log. With your UH-60 experience you can get an S-92 spot at PHI fairly easily. With the S-92 you’ll get factory training and the work locations (except Boothville) and work loads are better than most other jobs. If you want to go EMS you’ll need to get some experience before most places will hire you. In EMS most jobs are a lone mechanic and most EMS operators want someone with civilian experience. Good luck with what ever you decide and feel free to PM.
helofixerUser is Offline
JH Member
JH Member

04/16/2008 10:40 PM  
The transition can be a bit of culture shock, but most of us civilian wrenchers would welcome new, eager, hard charging new blood that are willing to learn. One of the biggest difference I've seen between the military world (especially the USAF, not sure if the US Army is the same)and civilian maintenance world is you military mechs tend to specialize in one system or subsystem...whether that be sheet metal, hydraulics, fuel systems, electronics, power plant, flight controls,etc. I used to joke with some USAF buddies that they would have to call sheet metal shop to remove an access panel, hydraulics or fuel people to remove a line in your way, a spark chaser to move a wire bundle in the way, change the part, and then reverse the process and not forget all the QA people. In my 18 years of civilian maintenance, I am usually all of those people save the QAI rolled into one. Time is money, down time is bad. Up helicopters = money. We might not have a spare, so get that down aircraft fixed ASAP! A small company usually isn't able to afford to have that many specialists on the maintenance payroll. Second biggest difference I have noticed is the number of mechanics per aircraft. A few years ago I learned from a Coastie QA guy they had roughly 6 maint techs per aircraft (5 HH-65's based there.) When I worked for a large Gulf of Mexico operator, the ratio was nowhere near that many mechanics per aircraft. You will learn to do more with less. I certainly do not want to discourage you, as most of us started out with an A&P ticket and no experience. An old hand told me that an A&P ticket is just a licence to learn. Try some of the bigs like PHI or Air Log. You will get a lot of experience working next to some of the best helicopter mechanics around. If you find its not for you, the old adage is that toolboxes have wheels for a reason...makes it easy moving it to the next job. There is a serious shortage of mechanics, and you should be able to choose a place that is right for you. Good luck.
HelofxrUser is Offline


04/22/2008 8:16 PM  
All the posts here seem to be pretty accurate. If you're getting short but have sometime before discharge--start cross-training a little bit. Hang-out with the avionics guys for a time or two; then hydraulics, etc...... Most civilian manuals use the ATA format--learn them. Get on the FAA website and look-up AD's for practice. Look at you Blackhawk as a civilian helicopter and practice writing logbook entries for the maintenance that you perform on it.
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