Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2016! Time for some Maintenance Goals (or Goaling as the new hip way of saying it is!)

Every year people go through this whole resolution or goaling thing when the New Year is upon us. I've decided to try and put together some Maintenance Goals that should be attainable for all of us aircraft mechanics.

I typically do not make any resolutions but I think this could be a fun exercise for the heck of it.

Goal #1

Stop worrying about delays while working on planes.

This is a tough one. The company will always push you to work quickly and to work in a way so as you take minimum delays. Delays are bad, they cost the industry millions of dollars every year. Delays are most likely to be caused by weather, crew scheduling or air traffic control, however maintenance delays are an issue too.

My contention is that a delay caused by a mechanic fixing a broken plane should not be lumped into all those other types of delays. We are talking about  safety of flight in most of the things that end up being maintenance delays so a departure time should be the furthest from your mind while you are trying to troubleshoot an issue.

My goal would be (and has been) that I will not rush, rush, rush to fix a plane. I will take my time and double check my work if necessary to ensure I have made no mistakes. I do not give estimates of "when I will be done" unless I'm pretty sure of what I'm doing. In essence NO PROMISES.

As an added "word to the wise", the company will rush you and try to get you to work quickly (understandable, they are in business to make money) BUT if by chance you mess up and the FAA has to get involved you will see just how fast the company will dump you and disavow any knowledge of how or why you did what you did. It is up to you as an A&P to check your own work and to be absolutely sure that when you sign off something it is done right.
Goal #2

Meet an "old school" mechanic and learn something from them.

I've had the honor to work with some of the "Old Timers" in our industry. I was employed at my job at the right time. The time when these guys were still eager to teach a new guy and when they could still say something like "hey jackass you are doing it wrong!" and not get into trouble.

I'd love to hear some stories from these guys1

These guys are a wealth of knowledge and should be idolized by the young A&P mechanic. I worked in the microfiche/get a bigger hammer era and the stories and wisdom will help you grow and amaze you.

Goal #3

Teach a new hire something.

The new guys are the future of the industry. Instead of complaining about how these new guys don't know anything or are too lazy to learn the right way lets show them the light!

They will always remember you for it and it makes your job easier if they do it right the first time.

Goal #4

Get your money straight (retirement)

Ok, it's great to fight for the next pay raise and to stick it to the company with a nice new fat contract. What has concerned me for a while now is how little our A&P brothers and sisters think about their retirement.

Let me tell you a story; Not too long ago I was one of those people. I figured that I would likely work into my 60's and or 70's and retire. It's a common thing for A&P mechanics to work that long, retire and within 2 or 3 years they die.

It is very important to think about how you want to live when you do retire, when you want to retire, and what you wish to do when you do retire. I am of the opinion that the earlier you can retire the better. We work in a highly toxic field. The shorter the exposure you can have to these chemicals, etc the better.

My wife came to me about three years ago with concerns about  our lifestyle after we do retire. We have since been investing in commercial real estate and enjoying making money while sitting at home watching TV!

What I'm saying is that 401ks are great but remember that about half of your 401k money is going to be taken by the government as taxes when the time comes. The trick to retirement in my opinion is to diversify. Keep your 401k, add some alternative investments, add some commercial real estate to "recession proof" your investments and start planning for your golden years.

Keep in mind that the S&P 500 ended the year down -0.75% (as a total yearlong average). Since I got myself diversified I made an average of 6-7% on my investments!

If any of you out there wish to learn more about commercial real estate investing check out www.waypointpropertygroup.com and learn more about it.

Goal #5

Be safe.

We have chosen a pretty dangerous career. Running engines, flying rivets, sharp metal, poison gasses, oil, fuel, grease, you get the idea.

You want to be able to go back to your family at the end of the day so watch your back!

It's up to us to be vigilant with our own safety.

Happy New Year and let me know what your maintenance goals for the year might be.