Learn about the demand for airframe maintenance technicians

Published: Jan. 7, 2016 at 5:30 PM EST
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Tyler Newman is working in a field he's loved since childhood.

He works as an airframe and power plant mechanic at Dynamic Aviation in Bridgewater.

"Every since I was younger, I've always loved aviation, airplanes, everything like that. I used to go to air shows, my dad would take me. Growing up, we used to work on things every now and then," said Newman.

He received his training at Blue Ridge Community College in the A&P Mechanic course.

"Once I started in a college, I just took some general education stuff because I didn't really know quite what I wanted to do just yet, but then I heard about the A&P course up at Blue Ridge," explained Newman. "I applied for it, got in, started taking the classes and ever since then it's been the best decision I think I've ever made."

Now, Newman helps with anything from landing gear changes, servicing the hydraulic systems to refurbishing windows and interiors of planes.

"What we do usually depends on what type of work needs to be done on the planes. It's usually a different thing every single day," said Newman. "I think the field is definitely going to grow as the years go on. Planes get more advanced. Most of it's going to electrical now, especially in the newer planes."

Jason Burkholder was happy working for a local family business, but decided to make the switch to work on planes. He's the director of special projects at Dynamic Aviation.

"I actually had a great fascination for aviation since I was a child and sort of decided that I would like to work in aircraft, so in my mid-twenties, I had an opportunity to come here and start working an apprenticeship program with Dynamic Aviation, which included on-the-job training," said Burkholder.

He worked here for about 30 months in the apprenticeship program and eventually became a certified airframe mechanic.

There's a need for abut 60 airframe maintenance technicians in the Valley over the next decade, according to economic statistics gathered by the Shenandoah Valley Partnership.

The average annual salary is $50,500 with potential to go higher with experience.

You'll need an associate degree and/or an apprenticeship. On-the-job training is also an important factor for this position.

"The company is constantly in a state of growth. We have got a lot of opportunities. There is lots of work for the foreseeable future. We often find a shortage of mechanics," said Burkholder.