Interview with an Airline Mechanic
An interview with Steven Vaughn, an airline mechanic, who works for a company in Dyess, Texas.
Q: Can you tell us who you are currently employed with?
A: I am an Electrical Repair Mechanic for the C 130 airframe for U.R.S. and I work out of the AFB in Dyess, TX.
Q: What is the most requested service you provide?
A: I am responsible for troubleshooting malfunctions throughout the plane’s controls, landing gear, pneudraulics, engines, auxiliary power, ventilation and heating systems.
Q: How long have you been involved with the airline industry?
A: I have been working with the C-130 airframe structure for the past 8 years.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your training and school experience?
A: During high school, I enrolled in the early enrollment program for the Air Force and, in 2000, I began my enlistment with the Air Force. I was trained as a C-130 electrical master technician and, when I left the Air Force, I was hired at URS. I began working here in 2004 and have been working with the same group of people since then.
Q: What’s your favorite part about having your position and what is the worst part?
A: I grew up in Texas and the fact that I have been able to do all that I have done and still stay close to home has been what makes this the position I wanted to sign up for. The heat is the worst part of this job.
Q: Tell us about an average day.
A: An average day involves doing the 100-hour periodic and progressive calendar inspections on the planes we are responsible for. Besides those tasks, we take on repairs and inspections of current airframes that are in for more than just an inspection. I arrive at work around 7:00 AM and leave the hanger about 6:00PM. Many of the procedures take a number of hours to perform, so our work days are a little longer than most, but it’s worth the time spent here to get the job done right.
Q: If you ever take the next step in business, what would that be?
A: I would like to get promoted to a supervisor for URS. It would take me out of the hanger and give me more of an office position as supervisor. As I get older, I would want to be able to accomplish my goals with less physical labor than I do now.
Q: Did your previous work history have anything to do with your current business position?
A: I was doing the same thing for the Air Force as I do here. The Air Force just does it a little different. The Air Force works on Air Force time. Here, we can schedule our work to fit the schedule of a civilian and that makes it much better.
Q: In your field of work, what kind of benefits do you receive?
A: I think I have some real good benefits. All the insurance I need. I have health and dental. I can go to a specialist if I would like. Our company pays for all our benefits and there is accrued time off for vacations and sick time. As most professional companies run their benefit program, URS runs theirs.
Q: Can you tell me about the money you make?
A: My salary is over $49,000 a year.
Q: What makes someone good at this profession?
A: What makes someone good at this profession is an ability to always have high standards for the work they perform. Without high standards, they would not like working with these planes. It comes with the job. You must always be performing at the highest level when you have so much you are responsible for.
Q: Would you recommend this career path to others who are interested in working with airplanes?
A: I would recommend my job to many of my friends. Many of my friends want my job, but they never went into it like I did. I’m sure they can go get trained, but I think the time I spent in the service gave me more than any school will. I think the real-time work I did on the C-130 of the Air Force allows me to be so good at what I do now.