Year Graduated: 2018
Program: Aviation Maintenance Technology
Degree Earned: Associate
Name of Employer: Dylan T Jordan
Location of Employer: Wasilla, AK
Job Title: Shop and Field Mechanic (A+P)
Why did you select Spartan College and your program of study?
Recommended and reputable, good location because I am from Northern Colorado
How did Spartan College successfully prepare you for your career?
Much of the course material that I didn't think would be practiced I use in my day to day work. Learning the tricks to reading a maintenance manual and knowing the ins and outs is key, Spartan set me up very well to that end - its half the battle. Gaining a varied experience on multiple airframes and engines has been very helpful, as well as an exposure to many systems that may not directly relate to what I work on today, however the underlying concepts are all still present.
Please describe your career path and how you got to where you are today (Including degrees earned).
From Spartan, I intended to go work for Papillion in AZ, as I recieved a job offer there before I finished taking my O+P. After graduation in March I intended to take a job there for a low starting wage to gain experience. I was offered a job working on float planes in Ketchikan, Alaska with nearly double the pay, and my interviews with the company checked all the right boxes. I always wanted to work in Alaska at some point - after I had gained some experience, so I jumped at the opportunity. After 3 months there, I was well aware of the sketchy and (occasionally) illegal practices being used at the company and I jumped ship at the first job offer I got that checked out - luckily working on helicopters in Alaska. I wanted to work on helicopters from the start so it was perfect. I gave my 2 week notice on the 90 day mark at the float plane company because my contract included a moving reimbursement that was 50% forgiven after 90 days of employ. My new company Soloy helicopters understood my predicament and bought out the second half of my contract instead of giving me a relocation bonus or reimbursement. I have been happily working for Soloy since July of 2018 and have had many life changing experiences because of it. They also recently invested a great deal of money in me to go to Airbus Factory training school in Texas, which was a great program, however more beneficial to attend after gaining a comfortable understanding of the aircraft than it would be as an entry level gen-fam course which is the way it is set up. Those students without prior experience were not able to take away the same depth if understanding that I was.
How has your education made a difference in your life?
It has completely changed it for the better. I get asked very regularly how I got into the position that I am, and 100% of it is owed to my education.
What advice do you have for current students?
Pay attention. When you're stuck on a glacier in the middle of nowhere with a faulty start-gen, it really helps to be able to recall what is actually happening inside of the component. Trouble shooting (the hardest part of the job) is where I find myself looking back to A+P school the most regularly.
Please describe the ways that Spartan College faculty and staff impacted you.
The staff were always very keen on ensuring students success. They were willing to work with students as required and teach for understanding where it matters, as well as test prep for the sake of the tests. While the FAA tests are fairly dated, much of what I learned at Spartan (specifically practical's) I use daily. Practice that safety wire in a box and get it dialed. You wont use it much, but when you do, you'll be glad you did. In the real world, it's rarely quite as hard as that box, but it does happen.
How long have you worked with your current employer?
2 years 8 months
How did Spartan Prepare you for your day to day responsibilities? What tools and equipment do you use?
Manuals and logbooks. Basic mechanical knowledge and skills like safety wire. I use all of my Spartan tools today, as well as metric wrenches and sockets, Knipex pliers in 2 sizes, 2 torque wrenches (26-240 in lb and 200-1000 inlb) crows feet and doggone torque adaptors, wire strippers, forceps. The base tools we got is a good place to start before you get specialty sizes. Knipex are excellent. Did I mention 2 pairs of knipex should be added (small and large) to the standard kit? Beats a ford wrench or cressent any day of the week.
Everything else I need is more specialty and shop provided (including all torque wrenches, but the shop pays for calibration and I use those two enough to own them)
What have been some of the high points of your career?
Heliskiing, seeing all of Alaska as if on helicopter tour during ferry flights, circled by a wolf at 10 yards, charged by a brown bear, watching the sunset with a rainbow at 12am while doing a field 100hr inspection, working under the northern lights. I love helicopters (I didnt know that before working here) and I love Alaska.
Please share any additional comments or information, including your future goals, professional involvement and community service activities.
I am planning on buying a house this year in Alaska - hopefully on an airstrip with a hanger attached and hope to go on to get my fixed wing private pilots license for recreation only. I hope to continue to learn and gain experience every day as well as learn from my mistakes to continue to build upon my career.
I am considering getting my IA to complete part 91 annual inspections on fixed wing aircraft in the future outside of the part 145 company I work for.
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