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Aircraft Mechanics Create Ripples

Posted 2 years 155 days ago ago by Admin

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” (Robert Francis Kennedy)

Once I attended the funeral of a man I didn’t know. His name was William, but everyone who knew him well just called him Will.  I was there because Will’s son was my friend and at the time was my co-worker. As everyone sat quietly respectful and listened, one friend after another spoke of Will and what he meant to so many people.  I remember thinking this man was only four years older than I am and died way too soon.

His friends spoke of how much Will loved and respected his two sons.  He was immensely proud of them. One friend’s story was of how happy Will was that each son had found a good wife, but he worried for the safety of his son who was a helicopter flight nurse. It was that concern that caused Will to say a prayer for his son’s safety every time he heard a helicopter fly over. 

The words of his friends went deep in my mind, bouncing back and forth like a pinball:  up and down, left and right. Though I have always been a safety conscious aircraft mechanic, a renewed understanding began to burn deep inside me that day.

As  aircraft/helicopter mechanics, we create ripples with every choice, every decision, and every action that we make. Everything we do affects entire families and friends for generations to come. Each task I perform is like tossing a rock into still water: the impact will create ripples. The question becomes: What kind of ripples? It is my responsibility to perform with the end in mind. My goal is to create an environment that produces good ripples…the best ripples…excellent ripples!

Experience is the best teacher. There is certainly no substitute for experience. But what about those who have not yet garnered the experience? Those new to the aircraft maintenance business who simply have not put in the time. Well, my best advice to you as a novice mechanic is to care about your machine and care about those who fly it.  When I first started in the business, I knew very little about airplanes and helicopters. However, I cared deeply about people and producing a great product.  I understood I was responsible for those who flew the machine. Now it’s time to pass the knowledge to the younger mechanics and watch them grow in experience and wisdom.

Recently, due to staffing needs, I have been searching for experienced mechanics.  I didn’t have much success. Fortunately, I did locate several young, newly certificated mechanics that were eager to work and learn. It will be rewarding and exciting to mentor proper helicopter maintenance. To teach the essential tools of: Integrity, Communication, Commitment, Customer Service, Personal and Professional Development. Most importantly, we will work to develop a culture of safety in this new generation.

The culture of safety is a living lifestyle. It’s not something you should have to remember. It should be a part of the daily life of each one of us and should come as naturally as breathing. We all must take ownership of safety because someone is waiting on their family member to come home. It’s my job, my responsibility, my duty, and my strong desire to ensure they arrive safely. 

About the author: Mark dedicated the majority of his career serving the helicopter EMS community from Base Mechanic to Director of Maintenance. As Vice President & General Manager of Precision Aircraft Services, Mark now serves helicopter operators from many sectors to include Air Ambulance, Law Enforcement, Private Owners, etc. When not at work, Mark can be found spending time with his family or sitting in a tree stand.