Where has all the talent gone?

Silent, The FAA is budget bound and tangled up in red tape. The feds can't even replace many inspectors that are retiring. There are some enterprising mechs who "consult" but that requires them to leave everyone behind while they remain overseas for several months at a tiime. Not everyone will do that.

I'm pretty sure airlines don't fly the aircraft empty to the countries where maintenance is being performed. They fly with pasengers and/or freight to the hangar and rotate the aircraft back into service when it is ready.

Look at what virtually all troubled airlines complain about while laying off: Wages, pensions, healthcare. Then there is capital investments to operate the hangar, rent isn't cheap. Equipment and tools used to work on or around aircraft are hugely expensive to purchase and then to maintain in tip top condition. That requires different maintenance crews all together. Facility maintenance, ground support maintenance, equipment maintenance. And don't forget environmental laws. A lot of chemicals are used in a hangar and the EPA is strict. Then there is the aircraft leases. Airlines used to pay cash for their fleet. Now, just like cars, they lease. In good times or bad, you have to make that monthly payment or they repo man will show up at your door.

What will halt the slide? A supercharged economy. Import/export laws that promote protectionism -which are never popular in a global economy.

I live in a part of the country where furniture factories shutdown every week because of "increased competition from overseas". But what these CEO's don't say while they shed crocodile tears is that they are moving the factories overseas themselves. There is no competion. The Chinese aren't creating industry. They just provide cheap labor laws. You can still buy Broyhill, Bernhardt and Lazyboy furniture. But look at the labels. They all say made in China. But the price of furniture isn't any cheaper. The profit margin is higher.

Like everything else, it is all about the money. You know? it is a perverted cycle. Everyone want's their 401ks to grow big, but to do that, companies have to increase profits. And to increase profits, they have to pay low wages or ship them offshore.

That is sad to hear about the furniture industry in NC. I used to live in Fayettenam, and made those road trips to Burlington to buy my furniture. Believe me it was a sticker shock when I moved back to PA, and went furniture shopping for the first time.

As you eluded to, protectionism will eventually lead to stagnation.

With what little I know, it does not look good for this generation of aircraft mechanics. Maybe in 20-30 years when/if the Chinese workers get fed-up with their wages, and start demanding higher pay. Until then I guess the mechanics of today and tomorrow should look overseas themselves. I know you said that some may not be willing, but those that are should.

Maybe as an industry it should look long and hard at GA and Biz aviation service. I know the pay may not be as enticing, but if that is where your calling is...
It was a late night...I can't believe I was on the soap box that long! No wonder my fingers are sore this morning.

It's not as grim as it seems. Offshoring HMVs is just a new challenge. The industry went throught this feast or famine cycle in the 70's 80' and 90's. There will always be a need for line maintenance, Avionics line maintenance and hangar space for more challenging work like gear changes, flight control surface repair routine engine change etc. There will just be fewer jobs. I think you'll see something similar to the nursing shortage. When the shortage is bad enough, aviation maintenance will be the nesxt hottest career.
The one nice thing about having that licence in your back pocket is that you can go back anytime( I havent seen a shortage of mech jobs, just ones that pay more than $13 an hour ). You might not make any money, but you can still get full benefits. Its been a nice fallback between decent paying jobs, and a lot cheaper than corbra.
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A little recognition, perhaps??

PAMA Presses for National Aviation Maintenance Technician Day

The Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA) has set its sights on having President Bush sign a resolution designating May 24 as National Aviation Maintenance Technician Day to recognize the Wright brothers' First Flight Mechanic Charles E. Taylor and all certificated aviation maintenance professionals.

Strides have been made recently in pursuit of their goal. "Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), have resolved to sponsor our resolution to establish May 24 as National Aviation Maintenance Technician Day," said Brian Finnegan, PAMA president. "In a "Dear Colleague" letter to all members of the House and Senate, Reps. Lungren, Oberstar asked their colleagues to join them as original co-sponsors of this resolution."

Finnegan stressed that an outpouring of industry support would be needed to finally recognize Charles E. Taylor. "Please call, write, and/or fax your congressman and senators and request they support National Aviation Maintenance Technician Day as an original co-sponsor," said Finnegan. "If you can follow that call up with an email, you can be all the more effective."

PAMA representatives are stressing that perhaps the fastest way to find out how to contact members of congress is online by visiting the PAMA website at www.pama.org where they have placed instructions.

The timeline for contacting members of congress, according to Finnegan, is crucial. "Please do it right now. With the "Dear Colleague" letter released on January 31, Congressional staff will be anticipating your call. Once the "Dear Colleague" letter does arrive in their offices, constituent support is essential to earn their vote in support of the resolution," said Finnegan.