Bob Rainey | AMT Graduate

I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks and support for Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology. In these troubled economic times many would say that aviation is no longer an exciting field of study. I would like to counter that by sharing my experiences as a graduate of Spartan for anyone considering study in my chosen field. Regardless of economics, aviation excels as an exciting career choice.
I graduated from Spartan in 1988 with an Associate degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology and FAA Airframe and Powerplant licenses (A&P). Before I realized the possibilities I had a job offer as an A&P from Delta Air Lines in Atlanta, Georgia and an interview with American and United. I took the first offer because I had been working for Delta for a year and a half as a ramp agent, and have been blessed ever since.
I now have 19 years with Delta and enjoy good seniority, pay and benefits. Realize that as I write this, Delta has filed for bankruptcy, I have taken two pay cuts recently, and numerous benefit cuts. However, to say that I am worried about my future in aviation or that things did not work out for me is far from reality.
Consider that in 1988 as a ramp agent I made about $7.00 an hour when I took the job as an A&P I started in Atlanta at $11.00 an hour. My pay has since tripled; I have enjoyed 19 years of flight benefits that have allowed travel for my family and me that would never have been possible without an airline job. Along the way my wife and I had two children and raised a family with full medical benefits.
As bad as things are in the airline industry, I have acquired skills that are applicable in many career fields. I am a line mechanic with troubleshooting skills in pneumatics, hydraulics, electrical and electronics. Many skills in this job can be applied to another line of work if necessary, but for me – I look forward to new horizons in general aviation.
Antique and homebuilt experimental aircraft is where my heart was first captured in this field and regardless of pay in the future, there is a lot going on in aviation to interest those with a need for adventure. I have had great experiences running engines and taxi testing L-1011’s, DC-9’s, MD 88’s and Boeings from 727 to the 767; now I long to start a new career in Sport Aviation, flying and building Light Sport Aircraft in the new FAA category.
The American workforce has always been required to adapt and change with the times and many will have more than one career in their lifetime. I feel that I made an excellent choice in choosing Spartan to prepare me to work in aviation no matter where it leads me. Again, I want to thank Spartan for the continued efforts to support the aviation community with the training necessary to realize personal goals and further the history of aviation.