NBAA Quick Turns

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NBAA Quick Turns

Are You a Mechanic, a Technician or an Engineer?

By Jim Janaitis, IBM Flight Operations

We have been tagged with many labels since Charles Taylor referred to himself as a “mechanician.” Unfortunately, the terms applied to our unique set of skills means different things to different people. A “mechanic” to one person conjures up an image of a disheveled guy with grease smudges on his face, wrinkled dirty clothes, a crooked baseball cap on his head and an oily rag hanging out of his back pocket. To someone else, a “mechanic” is a neatly dressed person, with a focused, purposeful look on his or her face, carrying a piece of sophisticated test equipment. Some other people think that it really doesn’t matter what you call the person; it just matters how skilled and knowledgeable the person is. If you believe this, you are right, theoretically. But let’s face it: most people have other perceptions of our place in aviation.

One of the most important, unwritten tenets of our NBAA Maintenance Committee is to challenge the status quo of our maintenance profession within this industry. If we are not advancing the knowledge and professionalism of today’s aircraft technician, then we are falling behind, because our industry is leaping forward at a dizzying pace. The truth is that every one of us should be challenging our profession on some level, and not just through committees or organizations. This has to be a grassroots movement to make things better.

So ask yourself: What can I do? The answer is simple and starts with looking inward and seeing how you feel about your job and level of professionalism. If you find that there is a gap between where you see yourself and where you think you should be, then you are beginning to see what needs to change. There are many ways to make improvements, and it doesn’t have to be by devoting a big chunk of time and effort to an organization. It can be a very small change on a local level.

This is the essence of what our Maintenance Committee does and will continue to do. I will speak for myself, but I also believe that many of my compatriots feel the same way. We all contribute our time and effort to advance the professionalism of the maintenance function within the aviation industry. And we are not just improving the NBAA experience. If this rings a bell with you, or you would like to discuss or participate in our group’s efforts, please contact me or any other members of the NBAA Maintenance Committee.