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Old 01-18-2021, 10:24 PM
Skeejere Skeejere is offline
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Fruita, CO
Posts: 16
Default A&P mechanics out there?

This is not a Vans specific question so not sure it is allowed on here. But here goes: Iím considering a career change and thinking of attending an AMT program to become an A&P mechanic. Thing is, Iím not interesting in working for the airlines. My goal is to stay in general aviation: do annual inspections, engine overhauls, etc. also wondering if there is any profit margin for ďflippingĒ airplanes like people flip houses, if I could do much of the work myself. For example, buying planes close to needing overhaul, fix up, re-sell. Iím 45 years old and looking for a ďsecond chapterĒ in life and something that I could enjoy and could monetize, slowly easing into retirement years. Any help or advice would be appreciated. Thanks everybody. Oh and btw, Iím currently building an RV-10
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Old 01-18-2021, 11:55 PM
meloosifah meloosifah is online now
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Indiana
Posts: 247

My opinion is that you canít make a ton of money flipping planes unless you can find the barn deals. If you look at prices for a runout plane vs a fresh restore, I donít think itís possible. No one discounts their ratty plane by the cost of making it nice. And no one gets what they have in a really nice and freshly restored plane.
RV7a (converting to TW and then ready to install the engine and panel)

1946 Cessna 140 (currently flying)
1946 Piper J3 Cub (stripped for restoration)

Exempt on multiple counts - donated double because this site is worth it!
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Old 01-19-2021, 05:55 AM
fixnflyguy fixnflyguy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Winston-Salem, N.C.
Posts: 1,319
Default My thoughts..

Glad to see someone interested in becoming an A&P, but here are a few observations I have made after 42 years in the industry. I got my A&P at 19, went straight to the airlines for 25 years, then I went to an MRO (Big plane overhaul company)where I manage large aircraft maintenance and modification(most airlines contract out the majority of work now days.). Being a passionate aviation geek, I also acquired my IA and built an RV-4. It is nearly impossible to o get an A&P , then just "dive in" to GA and be good(and safe) at it. GA is WAY more difficult than airline work ,and the responsibility of it is also a bit undaunting, you are the guy doing 100% of the research, paperwork, inspection and touch labor. I do GA work and experimental aircraft mentoring and maintenance "on the side" because I enjoy it and it balances my aviation hobby checkbook. It takes years to understand all the different aspects of small aircraft, and there are few people to teach this stuff to you. Not trying to talk you out of it, just expressing the reality and liability of it. I'm sure other "Graybeards" in the business will echo similar thoughts... I will be doing it in my retirement years, mostly RV's if I can !!
Bill E.
8A7 / Advance NC
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Old 01-19-2021, 08:27 AM
DeeCee 57's Avatar
DeeCee 57 DeeCee 57 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: LSZF
Posts: 542

yep, I can only echo fixnflyguy...

Worked 20 years as an A&P for the airline here in EU. It took this time for me to realise that pilots were earning way more to work way less. So I stopped moaning and became one

Always kept light aviation as a hobby, still enjoy turning wrenches as a retiree hobby
Would I recommend to anyone to get and work as an A&P? Yes, definitely. Interesting, varied, hands-on, technology, problem solving, etc. Just don't do it for the dough...
Life's short... Enjoy

DC aka Dan

RV-6.9 #25685, slider, O-360-A3A (carb/dual Lightspeed II), MTV-12-B, HB-YLL owner & lover
RV-4 #2062 HB-YVZ airframe builder
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Old 01-19-2021, 09:00 AM
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Raymo Raymo is offline
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Richmond Hill, GA (KLHW)
Posts: 2,287

Yet another echo of the above two responses. There is a LOT to learn. The A&P license allows you to get your foot in the door and do that. If you can start part time while keeping a full time job (as do I), you can easily finance your hobby. Most the the A&Ps I know that make a living of it also have retirement from a previous job, either military or civilian. I gained experience in the Army and got my A&P in 1995 but didn't use it in GA until 2013 (and a year at Gulfstream 1998-99). I hope to retire in 5 years and keep the hobby to offset the cost of flying and upgrading my RV.

That said, it is a great hobby. Go for it!
RV-7A - Slider - N495KL - First flt 27 Jan 17
O-360-A4M w/ AFP FM-150 FI, Dual PMags, Vetterman Trombone Exh, SkyTech starter, BandC Alt (PP failed after 226 hrs)
Catto 3 blade NLE, FlightLines Interior, James cowl, plenum & intake, Anti-Splat -14 seat mod and nose gear support
All lines by TSFlightLines (aka Hoser)

Last edited by Raymo : 01-19-2021 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 01-19-2021, 01:19 PM
acam37's Avatar
acam37 acam37 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Lufkin Tx
Posts: 694

I could have wrote that OP word for word. I got laid off after 20 years in the oilfield. While I was unemployed I got my A&P. Now 6 months later I cant find one single A&P job that starts out above $18hr and you are required to relocate to some far away city in another state. I feel like I just wasted a ton of money and a lot of time for a useless certificate. Unless you start out very young and are willing to take those low paying entry level positions itís not recommend as a career change. I wound up giving up on the career change and went back to being a professional steering wheel holder.
Arlie Conner (A&P)
RV-4 (N124TT) Sold
RV-8 (N269CP) Sold
RV-4 (N684ML) completed 3-17-19
KOCH Nacogdoches
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Old 01-19-2021, 01:33 PM
rv6n6r's Avatar
rv6n6r rv6n6r is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Gearhart Oregon
Posts: 293

Listening to the experts, we have a looming mechanic shortage as well as a pilot shortage. Too bad there doesn't seem to be a lot of incentive for people to get into it.

It does seem to me that having your A&P and commercial would open up a lot of possibilities for interesting flying jobs outside the airlines.

Also rather than "flipping" how about buying rebuildable accident planes to repair and re-sell? Seems like I've seen some of those for a song. And if it's something like an RV all the better, much lower paperwork / inspection burden.
Randall Henderson
RV-6 / O-360 / CS, 1500+ hrs, 1st flight Sept. 1999
Outstanding Workmanship OSH 2000
Airport committee chair & ASNV for Seaside, OR Municipal (56S),
Donated August 2020
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Old 01-19-2021, 01:52 PM
SMRacer's Avatar
SMRacer SMRacer is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Leesburg, VA
Posts: 580
Default No dog in this fight

Just wanted to bring this recent article published in AOPA Pilot to your attention.
Leesburg, VA (KJYO)
RV4 N444JT (sold)
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Old 01-19-2021, 01:54 PM
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mburch mburch is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Northwestern USA
Posts: 1,229

How do you feel about wiring? I keep hearing about the tight job market for avionics technicians, to the extent that some of the big shops are even mentoring youngsters through a training program to ensure they have a future workforce. Maybe phone a few local avionics installers and pick their brain?
Matt Burch
RV-7 (last 90%)
VAF #836
Any opinions expressed in this message are my own and not those of my employer.
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Old 01-19-2021, 03:33 PM
DeeCee 57's Avatar
DeeCee 57 DeeCee 57 is offline
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: LSZF
Posts: 542

thanks for the link SMRacer, excellent read and a good roundup of the general situation.
Life's short... Enjoy

DC aka Dan

RV-6.9 #25685, slider, O-360-A3A (carb/dual Lightspeed II), MTV-12-B, HB-YLL owner & lover
RV-4 #2062 HB-YVZ airframe builder
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