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Getting A Feel For The Industry!


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I started my apprenticeship in Lights: astars and 206's. I finished my apprenticeship working on mediums and worked another year as an un-endorsed engineer in the hangar. I got frusterated at the unendorsed part; so I bought myself an Astar course-The DOM kept telling me that I had to go back to Lights before I'd be allowed on mediums.


Someone higher up didn't like that at all.


That person helped me get into a 212 course that I paid for myself as well; and supposedly, I had the chance to go out on the medium if I would have stayed on a little longer. I got impatient and de-mystified with all the dithering that I was seeing over the following months.. one person was saying yes, and soon; and another person was coming up with reasons why it couldn't be done..so I chose to leave. I went back to lights for the summer; and had a blast. My type courses still haven't meant jack to anyone but me; as I ended up working on 206's this summer-but I'm glad I have them.


I've had the oppurtunity to work on 212's this winter; and the type course still didn't do sweet f*** all because I didn't have the experience to back it up. sucks in the biggest way and I hated it as I still find myself playing the apprentice. But I can't fault anyone but myself for it. I can't make experience out of thin air.


I don't see any reason why someone couldn't go into mediums straight out of the gate. It would take a tolerant company and a lot more prep for the junior engineer-which is where most companies balk. When I looked at going out on a medium to going out on a light; I found that I might be able to handle the daily events; maybe even do rather well; but I wouldn't have the previous experience to deal with the pressures that is present on the bigger machines. Bigger machines come with bigger personalities and I've found that for some types, it doens't matter what information you have behind what you are trying to say-the fact that you haven't been there and done that gives them all the reason to ignore it.


I'm the type of person that will capitulate to another engineer that has more experience; unless i feel I have the experience behind me to go 'toe to toe' with them and get things done my way; or get my opinioin heard. And going back to lights seems to be the way to go to do that. If I would have gone out on a medium I might not have had the backbone that is required to make me stand on my own to make my point clear. I may have found myself in over my head as the snags started to pile up and I would be scrambling to sort them all out.


I just spend my days hoping I can get back in to mediums; because they still get to me more than any light ever did. One day.........

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Something else you might want to consider is what you want out of your career. By that I mean, do you want to settle down in a nice town, buy a house and start a family, home most nights, playing hockey in the winter, softball in the summer.

Or, do you want to be in the pool, going where the work takes you, home whenever, to a very understanding family, thoughly enjoying your work, but missing out on a more normal life.

I,m not advocating either, but if you go the light route, and want to go on a base in a town you like, a med. endorsement would not buy you much credit.

If you want to travel, and see the sights,maybe some international work, then head towards the med. work as soon as possible.

Either way, the sooner you make a plan about which life style you want, the sooner you can point yourself in the right direction.

Best regards either way,


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Regarding what size of company to work for, as previously stated, it's a toss up with advantages either way but I would tend to lean to the larger organizations for a more varied exposure. Keep in mind the best company to start off with is probably the one that wants to hire you.


As for light versus medium I definitely feel an apprentice (and junior AME) should spend their time on lights. It is a rare individual who can excel on the more complex a/c when they really need to learn how to be an effective AME without the pressure of production work combined with the added workload from both scheduled work and snags. Over the years I can only think of a couple of junior AME's on my crew that would have been able to come even close to competently handling a 212 and after their first season on one they expressed as much and were glad they had a couple of years of lights under their belt. Be patient, take time to learn your craft and if you are any good at all it will be recognized with advancement.



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highskids is right the experience that i'm gettingas an apprentice is great. it's a smaller company with 10 machines at 4 bases. at the base i'm at there is 6 machines 2-350b2,2-350ba,1-500, and 1-206. it's nuts at times and also slow at others there dose not seem to be anything in between.


a pice of advice that i got when i left school was to go to lights first and then to mediums or heavys. the reason was that all helicopters are much the same the larger the machine the more back ups they have. on lights an apprentice may be given the chance to trouble shoot problems or will be able to have some imput on a problem than on the bigger machines. this is due to the cost differance in lost money in down time. and also if the bigger machines are parked looking for a new contract you can go back to the lights and still make money to pay bills.


again this was just advice that was given to me and it would not have matered it a company that only ran mediums had have offered me a job i still would have taken it.


If you want to work on Mediums, you have to know how to spell :up: :up: :up:

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