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How do you track maintenance requirements?

Top 8 Reasons to Become a Light Sport Mechanic

Posted by carol on 08.15.10 at 09:04 AM

 It must be admitted that the inventors of the mechanical arts have been much more useful to men than the inventors of syllogisms. He who imagined a ship  towers considerably above him who imagined innate ideas. –Voltaire

Did you take apart your mom's toaster and try to fix it when you were a kid? What about the TV, the computer,  the radio, the car? If you love the technical aspect behind these tasks and don't want to be tied to a desk all day, a career as a Light Sport Repairman with a Maintenance rating (LSRM) may be perfect for you. If you enjoy solving problems, working with your hands and earning significant income based on your skills and productivity, that Light Sport Mechanic could be you after completing the FAA required comprehensive three week course.

If you have inherited that “mechanic gene” and love aviation, you should consider becoming part of the solution to the LSRM shortage. Light Sport is the fastest growing segment in aviation. Thousands of light sport aircraft have been certified, with only a few hundred LSRM available to service these aircraft. Let me just note one important fact….A good mechanic is by far the best asset an aircraft owner can procure.

So if you're thinking about starting your own aviation maintenance business as an LSRM, you are on your way to a fantastic opportunity filled with potential. From the low start-up cost to a flexible schedule, to the option to add your A & P rating without ever attending an A & P school, starting a LSA maintenance service is a great idea - even for those with a full time job.

Here are my top eight reasons why becoming a Light Sport Mechanic can be a great profession and the many reasons starting this type of venture will benefit you.

1. Switch Careers After  3-Week Training Period

The Light Sport Repairman Maintenance (LSRM) Airplane course is an accelerated program, completed in just 3 weeks - great news for those who want to switch career gears. The general aviation maintenance training program for Airframe and Powerplant (A & P) mechanics takes 1900 hours to prepare you for FAA certification testing. To add an Inspection Authorization (IA)  requires an additional 2 years experience to qualify for the testing. The LSRM completes the entire program in 3 weeks leaving the program with his certificate of completion. After just three weeks the LSRM has the same authority for Light Sport Aircraft that an A & P IA has for General Aviation Aircraft.  

2. Future Opportunities and Potential

After working in the field for 30 months, under his or her own supervision, an LSRM qualifies to take the A & P testing and add this certificate as an additional rating without ever attending an A & P school. Mike Zidziunas, the first LSRM in the country to earn his A & P in this manner, realized early on that light sport was going to be the future of aviation so he took one of the first Repairman maintenance courses offered. “I was not prepared, however, for the incredible opportunities the certificate would offer.” And Mike is taking full advantage of those opportunities. He has opened a  Rotax Service Center, he works with manufacturers assembling SLSA aircraft and he has expanded his business by becoming an  A & P mechanic. All of these opportunities were based on his LSRM certification.

3. Autonomy

As a LSRM, you are in control of your schedule, the hours you work and which day(s) you work. There is no calling in sick or working late hours because you get to decide the schedule and who you want to work with. You can work part time or full time. Not many jobs provide an individual with so much room to be autonomous. And as a bonus – pilots are the greatest people to work with. They are the cream of the crop. The movers and shakers. People with goals and passion.  

4. Job Security- There’s a Shortage

LSRMs who are offering their services to the public are a scarce commodity. There is a very real shortage of LSA mechanics out there. It is certain that you will be able to fill your dance card fairly quickly and Rainbow Aviation provides contacts and helps you to build your initial customer base, ensuring that every SLSA owner in your state knows about your business. With just a little over 200 LSRMs in the country and of those only a quarter offering services to the public the opportunities are huge. There are other reasons a person might take the LSRM course: Manufacturers will take the course to perform services after certification, CFIs to perform their own maintenance  and inspections, A & P to learn about the ASTM standards and to legally provide services on the Rotax engine, and many SLSA owners who just want to learn more about maintaining their own aircraft and engines will take the course.  Usually these groups are not interested in offering their services to the public- resulting in a shortage of those who will.

5. Repeat Business 
Any pilot knows there is never a shortage of projects to be completed. When you build a trusting relationship with your clients, they are more likely to give you a lot more of those repair and service jobs. Not to mention the yearly condition inspections required by regulation.

6. People Business 
By owning an aviation maintenance service, you are in the 'people business.' This is beneficial to you because the more pilots you come into contact with, your potential for referrals will also increase. In building a positive rapport with your clients, they will pass your name on to their friends and allow you to achieve more endeavors from their contacts. And as an added benefit- you can write off all of those aviation events you enjoy attending.

7. Instant Money 
Very few new ventures can make money the first day on the job, but as an LSRM, you have that luxury. With a minimal set of tools and equipment, your start-up expenses will be very low, allowing you to make sheer profit very early on. The day after leaving our course, one LSRM called and said, I stopped by the local FSDO on my way home and did my first job that same afternoon.” Additionally, while flight instruction does not promise the most lucrative of all careers, maintenance is one area where you can make a living in aviation. (Our graduates are charging $65.00- $95.00 an hour).

8. Additional Class Ratings 
Rainbow includes the Rotax service certification in the LSRM course. So you will leave the LSRM course with two certifications. Additionally, you can increase your customer base by taking a short 19 hour add on module at anytime. These add on modules cover other class of aircraft such as weight shift, powered parachute, and glider. You choose to specialize or add one or more of these additional class of aircraft. As you grow, you can expand your services.

If you like what you’ve read in this article and think you might enjoy this career then you should do further research on becoming a LSRM. The job market looks great! So go ahead, take the necessary steps and plunge towards success. For more information on becoming a LSRM visit www.rainbowaviation.com

About the Author

Carol Carpenter, co author of : Sport Pilot Airplane: A Complete Guide and A Professional Approach to Ultralights,  is a Sport Pilot instructor, an instructor for both the Light Sport Repairman Inspection and Maintenance Courses, and Rotax Service courses,  FAA Ground Instructor with an Advance Rating, an FAA private pilot, an FAA Fasst Team Representative, and she holds a California teaching credential. carol@rainbowaviation.com

 

 

__________________

Carol Carpenter

Rainbox Aviation Services

carol@rainbowaviation.com

 

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Magdi Shalash (not verified) on Wed, 08/18/2010 - 01:23

From a first hand experience stand point,this article is so unbelievablt true...
A life changer the LSRM curuculum @ Rainbow Aviation,the Carpenters are Pioneer Recruiters....well you need to know that you have to have what it takes for that too...
Interest,Common Sense,the Vision,the Dream with both your feet on the ground feet,determination ....& of course the Finance (which doesn't compare in any way to the A&P IA time consuming & resource draning long years of commitment that suite only a few coming out of college..
yet the LSRM as a start point takes you to A&P IA in the same couple of years getting paid for it
Carol& Brian Carpenter ,Am happy to have been one of yours

bob.pasch on Mon, 10/18/2010 - 11:09

You know, I was gonna pass on commenting on the light sport mx issue and some of the misconceptions in it until I read Magdi's comment. With all due respect to Carol Carpenter, this "article" should actually be in the classifieds section. There's more barking here than on the boardwalk at Seaside Heights...

Let me start with the biggest myth presented, there's a shortage of LSA mechanics. In fact, anyone who holds an A&P certificate or a Certified Repair Station with the proper ratings is authorized to work on LSA. The reason people don't use a real A&P or a CRS is the same reason they don't buy real airplanes - they're expensive.

From the article, "The Light Sport Repairman Maintenance (LSRM) Airplane course is an accelerated program, completed in just 3 weeks - great news for those who want to switch career gears." I think not! Also, "After just three weeks the LSRM has the same authority for Light Sport Aircraft that an A & P IA has for General Aviation Aircraft." Would you really want to put your life or those of loved ones or friends in the hands of someone whose spent an entire 3/4 of a month in training before turning them loose on the LSA owners?

"The LSRM completes the entire program in 3 weeks leaving the program with his certificate of completion." An A&P needs a minimum of 2 years - TWO YEARS - to get a license and another 3 years before they can apply for an IA. How can you logically equate the quality of service you'd recieve from an LSRM to that of an A&P, much less an IA? The answer is, you can't!

Magdi's desecration of the English language notwithstanding, he [or she] when speaking of finance states "...which doesn't compare in any way to the A&P IA time consuming & resource draning long years of commitment that suite only a few coming out of college... yet the LSRM as a start point takes you to A&P IA in the same couple of years getting paid for it". Really Magdi? Ever heard of "you get what you pay for"? And the comment, "Carol& Brian Carpenter ,Am happy to have been one of yours" is not what I would use as a testimonial.

The rest just pitches tall tales like autonomy, job security and instant money. You like autonomy, become a hermit. You want job security, work for your billionaire father and if you want instant money, buy scratch-offs!

__________________

May you always have a tail wind and keep your scarf out of your rudder...

carol on Mon, 10/18/2010 - 19:35

Bob-
The difference here is that Magdi is aware of the quality of the course and has experience to back up his comments.
You do not have any first hand knowledge of the information taught in the course, or understanding of the support provided to the participants after the course.
It is inappropriate for someone who has no knowledge of the course content to begin making judgments and drawing conclusions about a subject matter you know nothing about. Your comments would mean a lot more if you had attended the course and had first hand knowledge.
The FAA and the aviation industry wrote the order that governs the course-
We did not write the regulations- just the curriculum to meet the regulations and standards set by the industry.
The FAA supervises the course and has approved all course content as they do with A & P schools.
The time for input regarding this new FAA Certified Professional Mechanic Rating was when the rule was being written. Every interested person was welcome during the discussion and rule making process.
Now- it is an FAA recognized method to become a Professional Mechanic and – by the way- qualify to take your A & P exam without attending A & P School. We have many LSRMs who have added their A & P in this way.
Every aviation mechanic starts somewhere. The FARs protect us- in that you may only perform work that you have been trained to perform,.
The FAA has endorsed the course. The EAA endorses and hosts a course at their facility in Oshkosh WI once a year. They sent a board member to take the course and then a staff member- to evaluate the course and they were very pleased and surprised by the quality of the job we are doing- thus invited us to hold the course at EAA Headquarters in shkosh WI.
Additionally, a good portion of our student base is A & P IA mechanics. It is interesting that these A & Ps all comment that the information presented, like the light sport rule, is new to them and, like Magdi, are very pleased with the quality of the course.
Bob- I have several A & P IAs who have taken the class and one asked me to have you call them. One, who has held his IA for over 30 years, said he had many of the same concerns you have when he first started exploring offering the class. (you can call me at Rainbow Aviation for his number which he would rather I not post here)
Additionally, many of the individuals who take are course have been working on ultralight or experimental aircraft for years and have a lot of experience, before even attending the course – others may just starting out. But everyone starts somewhere.
We have an excellent reputation and an FAA mandate to teach this course.
Finally, Light Sport Maintenance Specialists are in short supply- most A &Ps do not want to work on Rotax engines. And our graduates are as busy as they want to be. . .

__________________

Carol Carpenter

Rainbox Aviation Services

carol@rainbowaviation.com

 

AskBob on Mon, 10/18/2010 - 21:56

Bob, Bob, Bob, I find your post not very nice. Do you really judge a persons maintenance ability on their language ability? I think you can do better. Disagree with our fellow technicians but not attack them.

LSA is a different segment with new rules. I have sat in a number of IA renewal classes and have heard many times that the privileges of a A&P license does not extend to LSA. It is fact that a person can get a LSRM certificate in 3 weeks and can go for an A&P after 2 years. And if they are well taught as a LSRM, A&P or even IA they know their limitations. Is 3 weeks enough for a LSRM? Is 2 years at school enough for an A&P? Is three years as an A&P enough for an IA? All good discussion items but don’t knock the schools that are teaching based on the rule. LSA was introduced to create a new entry point to aviation. This entry point is not just for pilots but the maintenance team also. It is one more path to newcomers that are looking to get started in our industry?

bob.pasch on Tue, 10/19/2010 - 09:02

With all due respect Carol, I don't believe Magdi would know the difference between quality and rabble! You are correct in stating that I have no first hand knowledge of your course. What I do have first hand knowledge of is that you can't teach quality maintenance in THREE WEEKS! Yet the prognostication that one who completes your course is on the road to wealth and happiness is prejudicial and misleading!

The ONLY reason the FAA initiated the LSRM was due to political pressure-pure and simple. It's an experiment in FAA deregulation! The FAA's continuing mission is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world. Yet they succumbed to LSA by allowing LESS education and LESS training for pilots and manufacturers of such aircraft to “self-certify” that they meet FAA airworthiness and safety standards without the oversight and documentation that the agency normally imposes to enter the SAME aerospace system occupied by real aircraft and real pilots. How, ma'am, is that a safe thing?

That may be one reason why records of accidents involving light sport aircraft cannot be easily obtained. The National Transportation Safety Board does not have a separate category for the Light Sport aircraft.

A while back, the NTSB issued an urgent recommendation to the FAA to ground the Zodiac CH601XL series aircraft, citing six accidents and 10 fatalities, because the aircraft broke up in flight. The FAA did not act until later that year, by which time another fatal accident occurred. Another bureaucratic hesitation due to pressure.

Over several decades, Cessna Aircraft Co. has built many if not most of the light planes now used for pilot training, all certified to FAA safety and airworthiness standards.

In 2006, Cessna launched its own light sport aircraft, the 162 Skycatcher, and has suffered two crashes in flight testing because of the inability to recover from stall-induced spins. The test pilots escaped both crashes without injury, one by parachute and the other after a crash landing.

Cessna received FAA certification but shortly thereafter notified prospective buyers of the aircraft that deliveries would be delayed several months while changes were made to fix issues found in flight testing. That speaks very highly of Cessna that they’re doing more than the minimum.

Most light sport aircraft come from small operations, many of them foreign manufacturers. Few have product liability insurance much fewer have the class shown by Cessna. That doesn’t seem like the kind of "airplane" you would want in the safest aerospace system in the world.

Beyond such basic issues as structural integrity, airplanes have quirks and characteristics that are often not discovered without extensive flight testing. A 3 week technician isn't capable of dealing with those issues. It's tantamount to asking a 3 year old to perfom brain surgery! I would offer that it would be difficult, at best, for a 20 year A&P/IA to handle that type problem. Yet the FAA looks the other way.

Sorry Carol, you have a good business plan in action and I'm truly glad you're successful. But you'll be hard pressed to convince me that you're turning out technicians. What you are releasing on the LSA world are embryo apprentices at the expense of safety...

To Bob, I don't judge, I observe! One requirement of a real technician is that he [or she] read, write and comprehend the English language. I guess this is just another exception for LSA?

__________________

May you always have a tail wind and keep your scarf out of your rudder...

carol on Wed, 10/20/2010 - 07:35

"The Carpenters make a unique team. Their combination of knowledge of aircraft maintenance, regulations and teaching abilities comes together in an extremely well presented course. . . In my 50 years in the industry from C-47s thru 747's, from fighters to trikes, I have attended dozens of maintenance and ground schools. This one ranks in the top 10%.” - R. O'Neal Capt, NWA (ret)

__________________

Carol Carpenter

Rainbox Aviation Services

carol@rainbowaviation.com

 

bob.pasch on Wed, 10/20/2010 - 09:38

A very nice testimonial Carol, I'm sure there are many, many more! And again, I'm glad your program is successful. I wish you continued success! I was wondering, would you be so kind as to post a testimonial for how your graduates address the intrinsic safety issues prevalent in LSA? You seem to have overlooked that part of my post. How much time in your curriculum is dedicated to that topic? You see, safety was, is and always shall be the utmost principle in my mind. It usurps profit, business and customer relations and friendship and if your course actually teaches that as the golden rule, it would go a long way to sway me from my steadfast position on LSA. Short of that, I stand fast...

__________________

May you always have a tail wind and keep your scarf out of your rudder...

carol on Wed, 10/20/2010 - 16:11

I was not ignoring the safety issues- I just did not have time to reply this morning- I agree with you that safety is of utmost importance.
Two years before the NTSB issued an urgent recommendation to the FAA to ground the Zodiac CH601XL series aircraft we and our graduates were ringing the bell. We refused to certify, offer any maintenance services or even flight instruction in these aircraft. We received a lot of heat for this. But stood our ground. We had photos we had taken of one sample aircraft and had voiced our concerns very early on- showing these photos to our classes and discussing the issues we saw as critical concerns.
Throughout our entire course we focus on safety issues and as an FAA Safety Team representative I hold a FAAST Team event within each course that our participants must complete to receive their certificate of completion. After completion of our course we remain connected to our graduates and keep them informed on all safety issues.
Additionally, the FAA inspected 40 SLSA manufacturers last year and continue to perform audits of SLSA manufacturers.

__________________

Carol Carpenter

Rainbox Aviation Services

carol@rainbowaviation.com

 

bob.pasch on Thu, 10/21/2010 - 09:15

O.K. I'm impressed by your actions. In my book, actions speak louder than words! I'll admit I'm moved... a little!

__________________

May you always have a tail wind and keep your scarf out of your rudder...

carol on Thu, 10/21/2010 - 09:25

LOL

__________________

Carol Carpenter

Rainbox Aviation Services

carol@rainbowaviation.com

 

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