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Ame - Good Choice? Bad Choice?


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I'm beginning my AME (M) course at SAIT this fall and have heard a variety of opinions towards the wisdom of my decision. Obviously like most people I would like to make a lot of money however; surprise, surprise I also want to work in a field that I thoroughly enjoy which in my case is aviation. I plan on getting my AME ticket first and then hopefully obtain my pilots license following. What I’m hoping is to get any experiences from those of you who were once in my position and any advice that you have to offer. As far as working long hours, shift times, and work conditions, I could give a rats a$$ as I have no problem working my butt off. I also wouldn’t mind exploring the possibility of getting into the management of a company but that’s getting a little ahead of myself.


Any advice would be greatly appreciated,



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Reasons NOT to become and AME and/or pilot:

1-You'll probably get divorced unless your wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/dog.... is very independent and understanding.


2-You would probably make more money as an auto mechanic.


3-You most definately would have a better oppertunity at a social life as an auto mechanic.


4-You'll likely miss the birth of one of your kids (one of the ones you know of anyway :D )


5-You'll likely miss most of you kids birthdays.


6-Doing maintenance outside in the freezing cold/rain/bugs/swamps/night really sucks! Yes, this is the year 2004 and some operators still think it's a good idea to perform "T" inspections in the bush!!!!!


7-They're just helicopters, the novelty will wear off.



Reasons to become an AME and/or pilot:


1-You'll probably get divorced (don't laugh, some guys would actualy consider this a valid enough reason to join!!! :D:D )


2-You'll get to travel all over the country (the world if you so choose) and get to see things that most people have to pay to see.


3-You'll get to meet many many interesting people (you can interpret "interesting" any way you wish).


4-Beats the crap out of sitting at a desk all day!!!


5-The shortage of AME's/pilots is such that once you're licensed and have some experience, you pretty much get to call your own shots (to a certain degree of course)


6-You get to make upwards of $80 000.00 a year for two years of college! Cool no?


7-The nature of the industry lets you be as independent as you choose to be!


8-What's cooler than working on helicopters? :up: :up:

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Lol i see, i can't think of many auto mechanics who make upwards of 80k but anyways that's a pretty decent figure. Aren't there 9-5 hanger jobs out there for fixed wing maintenance positions etc, or even night shift mon-sat or anything like that. You know, positions that you can come home from each night (I'd imagine these are scarse and sought after) From what I've read and heard I would imagine that every part of the industry whether it be overhauling, line maintenance, field maitenance etc. that the hours and shifts vary. I'm single at the moment, however in two years a lot can change and even if I do make 80k a year the last thing i need is 40k a year in alamony payments :shock:

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Just out of curiosity then, what kind of shifts have you came across most, 4 on 4 type of thing or I would imagine during the summer months its more like 21 on 2 off. Camp life I've realized through fire-fighting is a good way to tuck away some loot and eat a good diet. (meaning large oversized portions several times a day :D ) That is assuming you get a trailer and not a black tent sitting in the middle of a thourougly scorched field.

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Some operators, especially in more remote locations, still expect 6 weeks on 2 weeks off rotations but that is slowly changing. I would assume the average rotations are probably 4 on 2 off but I'm just guessing.

#### is right about the fixed wing bit. Besides, if you really like helicopters, you'll most likely really hate the regular 9 to 5 grind of fixed wing, regardless of pay!


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Go with what jetbox & #### say. Been an AME (helicopters) for 30 plus yrs & still enjoying it. Been a pretty good living so far. Am at the point where I can say been there, done that. No intentions of winding down either. Good luck

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Guest Bullet Remington

Gotta agree with most things posted, even waht Maggie said!! :unsure::unsure:


Kinda disagree, somewhat with one statement by Jetbox though. Way back in the 70's i was making 72 k working on cessa 206s.(4 of them.)


As for Planks, where i am now the guys work 5 on 5 off, 12 hour shifts. Ocassionally ever 4th shift is days, if you are working on the line or in the hangar. Evenually, when Base maintenance gets a little more advanced, some of the people will be working 4 on, 3 off.


I do very little wrench bending these days, so I work a 5 on, 5 off, when I'm in town, and 12 to 14 on and 12 to 14 off when I'm out on a C or D Check. Depends usually on where the machine is.


The Plank world is not unlike the Fling Wing world. Most of the work is done at night, with the exception of Phase Checks, B Check C checks and D Checks. A C Check can take anywhere from 21 to 45 days, depending on the check type (C1, C2, C3, C4, etc.() of any combination of these, as well as SSIDs, CPCPs, SB, AWDS, NDT Inspections, modifications, etc.


A D Check can take up to 6 months.


The biggest difference, I've found anyway, is that there is very little interplay between the drivers and the engineers in the Plank world. In most cases it's just as well! Plank drivers don't really know the meaning of the words 'work' or teamwork. Big egos, small brains and large frames!


Most (unfortunately, not all) Fling wing drivers actually work for their money, and appreciate the engineers input to them and the effort required to keep the machine flying. It actually takes some skill to sling some of that crap around and place it in position. Plus it's not easy on a back bent over the collective all day like a dog licking honey off a football!!


The biggest thing is the fun! In the helicopter world every thing is a challenge and the fun is making it work, as a team. Plus, ya get to train some of these drivers!! ( See comment in previous paragraph!!) And like Maggie and Jetbox said, ya get to see some very, very interesting places, people and...ahem things!


The moneys not too bad either, especially for a young whipper snapper right outa school.


I can't honestly say that I don't miss Fling Wing. I can honestly say I don't miss the bugs, the cold, and the swamp flies crawling down the crack of my butt!


I do miss the comraderie and the driver inter action. And after giving it some thought, may be that's more important.


I would recomend you keep an open mind. Try everything.


And as an old busk driver once told me, Love many, trust few, always tie on your own canoe. Interpret that anyway you want!


Driver rebuttals expected and encouraged!! :lol:

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