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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

What it’s like to work as an Aircraft Mechanic for SkyWest Airlines

December 19, 2018

By Tom Himka –  SkyWest Airlines Colorado Springs, Maintenance Manager

So, you’ve caught the aviation bug. We don’t blame you. We love airplanes too.

SkyWest Airlines CRJ2005Starting a new career can be a bit overwhelming and you probably have plenty of questions. For instance, what is it like being a SkyWest mechanic? I can tell you, there isn’t anything more exciting than working nose to tail on state-of-the art aircraft. And that’s exactly what every A&P mechanic at SkyWest does. With safety at the forefront of every task, each mechanic is responsible for the miracle of flight. Our maintenance team of industry-leading professionals uses the most up-to-date technology to keep a fleet of over 450 aircraft safe in the skies.

Keep reading for a realistic view of what your first night, week and year as an entry-level aircraft mechanic could look like. We look forward to possibly seeing you at work on the hangar floor!

Working as a SkyWest Aircraft Mechanic: Your First Night, Week, Month and Year

Your first night at the maintenance hangar starts by attending a pre-shift meeting with all mechanics. Here, you’re assigned a Crew Lead, team and the aircraft you will be working on. Maintenance Crew Leads oversee 3-4 aircraft, plus one heavier inspection aircraft. All work must be wrapped up and the aircraft positioned to head back to the gates by 4:30 a.m.

SkyWest’s approach to teaching about the different aircraft is a mixture of hands-on and classroom experience. You can expect to spend 3-4 weeks on the hangar floor with the aircraft and an on-the-job trainer. You will also attend familiarization classes for each fleet type.

To help with the steep learning curve of your first week, you will meet with a Designated Trainer. A Designated Trainer is a Level III mechanic who works with Inspection and Production, and will specifically train you on SkyWest’s policies, procedures, and SkyTrack computer maintenance documentation. The Designated Trainer acts as your mentor and coach as you work through assignments and sign-off tasks.

Your first month, you’ll have hands on the aircraft with walk-arounds, learning component locations and inspection trainings.  For the first 30 days, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations require all work to be signed off by a trainer.

Within your first year, you’ll reach Level II mechanic status, working on Level III tasks with the intent to attain Level III at around 18 months. You’ll continue class training for each aircraft type and module classes for specific systems like hydraulics, fuel or air conditioning.

Our Accelerated Training Program is designed to get every mechanic from Level I to Level III in approximately 18 months, allowing the flexibility to work independently as well as lead or assist new mechanics. Keep in mind that each level upgrade is accompanied with a pay increase.

How SkyWest’s Partnership with SJVC Could Benefit You

It is always SkyWest’s goal to attract the most talented individuals who want to contribute and innovate, and SkyWest’s unique partnership with SJVC gives you a jump start on your aviation maintenance career through the SkyWest Maintenance Apprentice program. Interested? Learn more and apply here.

Not yet a student in SJVC’s Aviation Maintenance program? Request information now, or call (559) 453-0123 to learn about our aircraft mechanic training.

Already have your A&P? You can apply to SkyWest’s Maintenance Apprentice program here!

SkyWest Aircraft Mechanic Career: Highlights

SkyWest Mechanics Enjoy:

  • Shift Trade Flexibility
  • Tool Allowance
  • Moving Expense Reimbursement
  • Flight Benefits with Four Major Airlines
  • Operational and Financial Bonuses
  • 13 Maintenance Bases and 9 Line Stations
  • Advanced Technology and Procedures (SkyWest is the first airline maintenance group in the world to go completely paperless)

SkyWest Flying Stats:

  • 450+ Regional jets, including the E175 and the CRJ200, CRJ700 & CRJ900
  • 33% of all aircraft overnight at a maintenance base or line location
  • Partnerships with Delta, American, United and Alaska Airlines

SkyWest Maintenance Career Mechanic Levels

  • LI: Most common entry level from A&P school
  • LII: Prior military or avionics experience, level 1 task list completed, ability to work independently
  • LIII: Can lead a shift and train tasks to L1 or L2 mechanics, with the added responsibility of module classes and troubleshooting all systems

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