Sometimes you just have to dive in – Photo: Kris Hull
Working for an airline might seem prestigious to most on the outside: a job filled with adventure and travel, with good perks. However, like with most things, reality if very different. For the past nine years, I have spent my time working as an FAA-certified and licensed Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic, or A&P. A&Ps are the lifeblood of civil aviation in the United States.
In short, we are tasked with ensuring that all aircraft in the US are maintained in an airworthy and safe manor. It is not very glamorous, but it sure is fun! I obtained my A&P license by attending an FAA-approved course for two years at a Washington state community college, and then I entered the aviation workforce with gusto and drive, ready to conquer the world; or so I thought!
FAA A&P mechanics can work on anything, including this PBJ-1J under restoration – Photo: Kris Hull
Throughout my ten years in the aviation industry so far, I have worked for four companies; two for a year or less, and the other two for four years each. I have had the opportunity to work on everything from the diminutive (yet mighty!) Piper J-3 Cub up to the newest member of the 747 family, the 747-8. So sit back and enjoy reading this while I recall some of the adventures (or misadventures!) I have had over the past several years!
The Pilatus PC-24 rolled out onto a Swiss flag – Photo: Pilatus
On August 1st of this year, Pilatus’ clean-sheet jet aircraft, the PC-24, rolled out of the hangar with a procession of twenty-four horses leading the charge. The horse theme was chosen as this aircraft is being marketed as a “workhorse”.
A side view of the Pilatus PC-24 – Photo: Pilatus
The PC-24 may look like a standard medium-light jet (think smaller Cessna Citations if you are unfamiliar with the term), but that is where the similarities end.
Marketed as a “Super Versatile Jet”, the PC-24 is the only medium-light jet aircraft that can do what small turboprops can; for instance, land on unprepared airfields. It is also the only corporate-class aircraft that comes standard with a cargo door.
A Condor 767-300ER departing Anchorage Airport – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter
Back in May I was desperate to fly somewhere — anywhere. By that time, I had not flown a single mile. Yep that’s right, an AvGeek who flew over 60,000 miles last year alone was sitting at 0 miles until May. I was having major withdrawals and then I saw a fare sale to Alaska.
Last year, during my $100 Challenge, I decided on Kansas City over Alaska. I was determined to tick that missing state off my list, and $200 round trip fares to Anchorage were a steal! So I booked my trip and decided on a weekend of pure plane spotting.
I had heard, read, and seen how good spotting at Anchorage can be and I wanted to check it out myself. The airport sits in view of a massive mountain range providing a great back drop to the aircraft taking off and landing. Adding to the scenic nature of the airport is the fact that it is the crossroads of freight aircraft going between Asia and the Americas. What AvGeek wouldn’t want to spot there?
Amelia in command of the Pilatus PC-12NG – Photo: Amelia Rose Earhart
On the 2nd of June, 1937, Amelia Earhart began her journey around the world – the one that would end somewhere over the Pacific. On June 26, 2014, Amelia Rose Earhart began her journey around the world to recreate that famous flight. However, this Amelia completed that journey successfully, touching down after 19 days in Oakland, California.
Piloting a Pilatus PC-12NG, Amelia and her co-pilot Shane Jordan circumnavigated the globe, visiting 14 countries along the way and sealing her fate as the youngest woman to circle the globe in a single-engine aircraft.
Almost a year ago, I was present for Amelia’s announcement of the flight at Oshkosh 2013. Since then, I’ve followed along like so many others on Twitter and other social media. Now that Amelia is back, I was given the chance to talk to her and ask her about her amazing journey.