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I've been turning wrenches as long as I've been flying; at times I've worked winters as a mechanic or exclusively as a mechanic, but much of the time, as both mechanic and pilot. My first turbine job came as a result of being a mechanic. I've been able to stay employed turning wrenches when flying work was scarce. Twice I've worked as a pilot and as director of maintenance for an operation.


Whether or not you use your mechanic certification as an employment function while you fill a pilot position, a better understanding of your equipment and craft is never a bad thing.


One thing to watch out for is the possibility that an employer will find you more useful in the shop than on the flight line. Pilots are a dime a dozen; mechanics, not always.

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I feel like you already know the answer to those questions...

I don't know the answers to the questions since I'm not certified as both and don't know what the job market is like for someone rated as both, hence why I asked the question.


Avbug, were you hired as a seasonal pilot and then offered a mechanic slot for the off season? How was the pay for working as both?

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I've often worked as a mechanic and pilot at the same time. Other occasions, I've turned wrenches when not actively working in the summer, or when not out on the line. In some cases, I travelled with my tools while flying, and did line maintenance in the field at the same time. When flight instructing, I turned wrenches in the hangar when not with a student. When doing ambulance work, I acted as Director of Maintenance as well as a line pilot; the same for a corporate department. I flew for a fractional operator, and often ended up doing maintenance in the hangar when in their maintenance bases, especially if there for a few days. There were times when the maintenance staff was short-handed and I was able to get an aircraft out the door overnight during an inspection.


Wages vary with the equipment and the type of operation. Presently I do both, primarily flying during the fire season and doing annual and other maintenance in the winter. It allows a lot more time at home, and I'm paid well. I don't discuss my salary specifics, but its a good living.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Avbug- Thanks for the explanation! Granted I am not the OP, but I am currently working through the A&P program at a local school and am slowly gathering hours to my PPL when I have time/cash to fly..


At 21, I have many years of car wrenching experience and have worked in the bicycle repair industry for 6 years. Granted, its nothing compared to rotary aircraft, but I have been working mechanically for many years and I am intrigued by wrenching on Helos. but the long term goal is to end up flying and doing Utility/Fire work.


I am hoping that like you said, the wrenching helps me get a foot in the door somewhere and/or can keep me employed when I cant always be flying. Plus I have herd from a few of the guys in the industry that having your A&P (And CDL for that matter) can put you in front of other job applicants with more hours just out of being more versatile to them..


Plus like you said, its never a bad thing to have a understanding of how your craft works and having the knowledge to know how/why things work (or dont!), The local program is costing me less than 10k and I can pay for it as I work through it without loans, so I am just counting it as a good investment in my future career..

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