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.
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. [email protected]