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Katherine Haas

Year Graduated: 2019


Program: Aviation Maintenance Technology


Degree Earned: Associate


Name of Employer: USAJet Airlines


Location of Employer: Belleville, MI


Job Title: Flight Engineer

 

Why did you select Spartan College and your program of study?

I picked Spartan’s Denver Campus because it had a shorter (18 month) program and because it was close to home. As a Flight Instructor, I liked teaching aircraft systems better than aerodynamics. I also wanted to be an A&P mechanic so that I could someday own and work on my own airplane. And I chose to get my A&P while working as a flight instructor so that I wouldn’t risk becoming one of those pilots who always wished they had gotten their A&P but never done it.

 

How did Spartan College successfully prepare you for your career?

Spartan prepared me to successfully pass the A&P written and practical tests, granting me the FAA A&P certificate. That certificate that has been the reason I’ve gotten all the jobs I’ve had since then. Preparation for the A&P written tests is also very useful preparation to take the Flight Engineer written test. And the systems knowledge I got in school gave me a good foundation, helping me succeed in Boeing 727 Systems class.

 

Please describe your career path and how you got to where you are today (Including degrees earned).

I got a Bachelor of Arts before joining the Navy. I realized that I wasn’t cut out for a desk job, enlisted as an Aviation Electronics Technician, and spent most of my time looking at all the airplanes flying overhead. I got my Private Pilot License while enlisted and earned the rest of my pilot ratings when I got out of the Navy. I attended Spartan’s Denver Campus while working as a Flight Instructor in Boulder, and upon earning my A&P Mechanic license, flew a Cessna 172 to Alaska where I worked as a pilot and a mechanic for a family owned charter company that operated a DeHavilland Beaver (with a radial engine) on floats, a Piper Cub (fabric aircraft) on bushwheels, a Cessna 185 also on bushwheels, and several Cessna 206’s. I then interviewed and got hired with an airline that flies cargo charters as a Boeing 727 Flight Engineer. The company requires their Flight Engineers to have A&P certificates, but I was the first one to earn the Flight Engineer certificate on the basis of my Commercial Pilot Certificate. In my free time, I volunteer as a mechanic with the Yankee Air Museum at the Willow Run Airport (home of the original Rosie the Riveter) near Detroit. They have a flying B-17, B-25, C-47, and Ford Tri-Motor. I got a Bachelor of Arts before joining the Navy. I realized that I wasn’t cut out for a desk job, enlisted as an Aviation Electronics Technician, and spent most of my time looking at all the interesting airplanes flying overhead. I got my Private Pilot License while enlisted and earned the rest of my pilot ratings when I got out of the Navy. I attended Spartan’s Denver Campus while working as a Flight Instructor, and upon earning my A&P Mechanic license, flew a Cessna 172 to Alaska where I worked as a pilot and a mechanic for a family owned charter company that operated a DeHavilland Beaver (with a radial engine) on floats, a Piper Cub (fabric aircraft) on bushwheels, a Cessna 185 also on bushwheels, and several Cessna 206’s. I then interviewed and got hired with an airline that flies cargo charters as a Boeing 727 Flight Engineer. The company requires their Flight Engineers to have A&P certificates, but I was the first one to earn the Flight Engineer certificate on the basis of my Commercial Pilot Certificate. In my free time, I volunteer as a mechanic with the Yankee Air Museum at the Willow Run Airport (home of the original Rosie the Riveter) near Detroit. They have a flying B-17, B-25, C-47, and Ford Tri-Motor. With that many radial engines in one hangar, there is always something to do!

 

Are you a veteran?

Yes

 

How has your education made a difference in your life?

My education has enabled me to get the jobs I’ve had since graduating due to the certificate I earned. I also made several very good friends while I was in class with whom I still keep in contact and network. Many of the teachers were very supportive of me, remembered me after I graduated, and were excited to have me keep in touch with them.

 

What advice do you have for current students?

Don’t wait until you graduate to get a job in aviation! Anything, even an internship, a line position, a ramp or contract position at an airport, will help grow your resume, help you understand the industry, and make you stand out. It’ll also make you easier to work with at your first A&P mechanic job. People are often afraid of taking a lower paying job while in school. But the money you miss out on by taking that entry level aviation job before you graduate comes back to you in the form of better pay and better job opportunities once you get your license.

Also, aviation is a very diverse industry, there is a place for nearly everyone in it. Don’t be afraid to reach out beyond the first layer of what you see.

And definitely be open to relocating! (Its not forever.)

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