Advantages of Being a Pilot/Mechanic
In the Jan/Feb issue of D.O.M. magazine, I interviewed Steve Slade for the cover story. Slade is the director of maintenance for Maritime Helicopters in Homer, AK, and has quite the story to share. Over the years, he has worked as a mechanic, a pilot and a pilot/mechanic.
Quite a few of the maintenance managers I have interviewed over the years have both their mechanic and pilot certificates. They say that it gives them a better perspective of both jobs. Having a pilot's knowledge of aircraft operation and systems often helps understand discrepancies that would otherwise be more difficult to resolve. Having a maintenance background allows pilots to more thoroughly understand the mechanical goings-on of their aircraft. Because of this, those who have both certificates often find themselves much more in demand than their single-certificate peers.
There can be a down side to having both certificates. Sometimes individuals are hired to both fly and maintain a company's aircraft. Hiring a pilot/mechanic and having him or her perform both pilot and mechanic duties is a lot less expensive for a company than hiring a pilot AND a mechanic. But the pilot/mechanic often finds himself or herself working long hours to accomplish the flying and maintenance needs of the company, especially in Part 91 operations.
Do you have a pilot and mechanic certificate? How do you feel it has helped your career? Have there been any drawbacks or regrets? Inquiring minds want to know.
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Thanks for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you!