A mechanic who specializes in aircraft parts and accessories is looking for a career that doesn’t require them to work in the cockpit of an aircraft.
“I’ve never done it before, and I really want to get into that,” says James Lee, owner of the mechanic shop AirMechanics in Toronto.
“If you can handle the aircraft and it doesn’t have the kind of features that you want to have, then you can probably make that a job for yourself.”
The job is a lot like any other, but Lee says his shop offers a different type of training.
He trains his apprentice to fly in his shop, and he also provides technical advice to his customers.
“You need to be able to read a book and be able do the math,” he says.
“To fly the aircraft, you need to know what you’re looking at, how it’s designed, how you can adjust the throttle, how to change the airspeed.
That’s what I do.
I teach it.”
Lee started his mechanic career as a teenager.
He learned the ropes at an aerobatic school in Toronto and then enrolled at the University of Toronto.
When he graduated in 1999, he applied for and received a job at the Ontario Municipal Board, which oversees the transportation and facilities sector.
Lee says he took a few courses before he landed a position with AirMechans.
“The first year I worked, it was really good,” Lee says.
He was a mechanic for three years before he started training his apprentice, who became an air mechanic.
Lee believes his apprentice’s experience is different than many other mechanics because he doesn’t work with the same tools and is a bit more familiar with the aircraft.
Lee is also working on expanding his business.
In the meantime, he plans to take the time to learn how to fly the plane.
“The more I fly, the more I learn, and the more things I learn,” Lee said.
“But the more that I fly the more skills I have to improve, so I’ve already started.”
Lee is a former mechanic himself.
He’s had his fair share of flying mishaps, including one that led to a partial canopy collapse that killed two people and seriously injured three others in 2013.
He says the accident was caused by his inexperience.
“We’ve had people get seriously hurt.
We’ve had accidents, and we’ve lost people in our shop, but the safety is always our top priority,” Lee told CBC News.
“When it’s your job, you don’t take the chance that your life is going to be at risk.”
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