Reaching Out

Even if we influence just a few kids through aviation, I consider that a worthwhile effort.”
Eugene Cernan, former NASA astronaut and the last man to walk on the moon.

It’s funny how we sometimes cross paths with someone from our past. Aviation is a small world after all – and the helicopter segment is even smaller. Sometimes we see old friends and coworkers at tradeshows like HAI Heli-Expo. Sometimes it through sheer luck.

Such was the case with Greg Judd and Steve Miller crossing paths again (see It’s a Small World After All on page 32). However, Judd and Miller weren’t former coworkers. Miller just took the time to reach out and show a young kid what it meant to be a helicopter mechanic. He let Judd hang around and help him as he worked on helicopters. He made such a strong impression that Judd decided he wanted to be a helicopter mechanic when he grew up. Not only did he become a helicopter mechanic, he went on to be a director of maintenance and is now a tech rep.

When Terry Peed first told me the story, I was amazed. What were the chances that having dinner and a couple of beers with a customer and telling war stories would lead to two helicopter mechanics reconnecting after more than 35 years! It goes to show you how small our community really is.

Many of us have had success in our careers. We owe it to ourselves and to our industry to reach out and give back. We can do this by mentoring new mechanics. And, as Peed shares, we can also do it by introducing kids to aviation and getting them hooked at an early age.

Maria Lockwood of the Duluth News Tribune recently shared the story of EAA Chapter 272 that is doing exactly that. The chapter is rebuilding an Aeronca Sedan. Chapter members are reaching out to local students who, in turn, are helping give the old aircraft new life.

I remember how fun it was to build and launch Estes rockets when I was a kid. Can you imagine how these kids must feel as they are rebuilding an actual aircraft?

Are you or your company doing things to reach out to kids in your community to show them the opportunities in the helicopter industry? Do you have any ideas on how we as an industry can do a better job of being mentors and influencers to those who could be the future helicopter maintenance professionals in our industry? We’d like to hear your feedback! We would like to share your stories in a future issue of Helicopter Maintenance.

The Helicopter Maintenanceteam will be in Orlando, FL March 3-5 for HAI Heli-Expo 2015. We will be exhibiting at booth 704. If you are going to the show, be sure to stop by and say hi. If you are on the show floor on Wednesday, March 4, stop by our booth at 2:00 p.m. as we announce the winner of our second annual Helicopter Mechanic of the Year Award. And while you are at the booth, be sure to drop off a business card to be entered for a chance to win a custom-made helicopter mechanic sculpture and business card holder.

Last, but not least, we need your help. We are reaching out to you to ask if there are any specific topics you would like us to write about in the magazine. Are there technologies you would like to learn more about? Do you want troubleshooting or inspection tips on a particular airframe, engine, accessory or avionics system? Let us know so we can pursue those topics. If you are a subject matter expert and would like to help out with an article, let us know. Our editorial team can work with you so that you can share your knowledge and expertise with Helicopter Maintenancereaders.

This is YOUR magazine. Reach out to us – tell us what you want to learn about in your magazine!

Thanks for reading, and we appreciate your feedback!  – Joe Escobar