“Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away,” sings legendary crooner ‘Ol Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra. Whether you grew up listening to this song or harbored a dream of becoming a pilot since getting your first toy airplane as a child, there are certain qualifications that you first have to pass before actually taking control of an aircraft. Now is the perfect time to strike while the iron is hot because a recent report from the US Department of Labor states that from 2010 until 2014, there will be a shortage of pilots, aircraft mechanics, and engineers owing to retirements and fleet upgrades. This could be your time to make a solid career if you’re up to the challenge.
1. Get the right kind of education. Enroll in technical flight school for theoretical and practical hands-on knowledge. Some of these top guns of the sky are the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, the Airline Transport Professionals, and the Delta Connection Academy. If you want to mix recreational and professional (as in, a pilot for commercial airlines) flying along with aircraft maintenance training, some of the best aviation schools are:
- US Flight Academy in Denton, Texas. This school will not only train you in the science of aircraft maintenance and flying but will also get you on your way to starting a career by assisting you in getting your license, increasing your chances of getting a good rating, and build flying experience. They have also partnered with regional airlines to make sure you land in the pooling and hiring system for new pilots and aircraft maintenance crew. They are committed to getting you in the cockpit of a commercial airline or in maintenance hangars in just nine months. Courses for private or commercial flying begin at $9,000 for the former and $50,000 for the latter.
- Phoenix East Aviation in Daytona Beach, Florida. This school offers F-1Visas to international students and promises local students a melting pot of different cultures because of their open-to-all- nationalities curriculum in preparation for commercial flying and aircraft maintenance. They assist students in securing jobs not only within the United States but worldwide.
- Ballard Aviation in La Verne, California. This school offers training and learning in maintaining and flying Piper planes. They have their own airstrip at Bracket Field complete with a control tower.
- Spartan College of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This school offers diploma and associate education in flying, electronics, engineering, and maintenance. They have a fleet of 50 aircrafts in their school including Cessnas, Pipers, and RGs.
- Plane-Training.Com: planetraining.com offers dedicated training from their Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand facilities. Aircraft maintenance and engineering courses are offered for Airbus, Boeing, and ATR 42/72 series. If you want to learn how these mammoth aircrafts are maintained, this is the training school to go to.
2. Federal Aviation Agency Clearance. The Federal Aviation Agency or FAA for short is the duly-authorized and empowered agency that gives out rules and regulations when it comes to basic aircraft maintenance. All the flight schools are certified to teach but you will have to secure your FAA clearance to gain employment. When it comes to aircraft maintenance, the FAA uses generically named checks as to A Check, B Check, C Check, and D Check. What you will learn in school will most definitely be tested by the FAA.
Having a basic knowledge of aircraft maintenance can be learned in a technical school but if you want to seriously pursue this as a career, it’s time to go into any of these specialized flying schools.