Join The Military, Get Your FAA A&P License
Army National Guard and some limited active duty units around the country have started fielding the LUH-72 helicopter based on the Eurocopter EC-145. These helicopters will be replacing UH-1, OH-58 and some aging UH-60A models. This newly fielded aircraft will not see combat and will stay in the United States as part of its mission. The members of the unit however can still be “pulled” from another unit deploying and therefore see combat time. The LUH-72 is a FAA certificated aircraft which means it requires the FAA A&P License to maintain it. Normally military aircraft mechanics do not need an A and P License to perform their duties. However, time spent in the military performing aircraft related work does count towards the FAA related experience requirement of 30 months to be able to test for the A and P License.
Units that are using the LUH-72 are paying mechanics to go get their FAA A&P License. Not only that, the units are sending mechanics to the Eurocopter (Grand Prairie, Texas) for their MOS course instead of the typical Army training. So you get real world experiences working on aircraft, you get the FAA A&P License and on top of that you already have one factory school under your belt for a “modern aircraft”. And if that isn’t enough, many guard units will hire you as a full-time technician maintaining these little machines.
How to get Started
First thing to do it is contact a military recruiter and talk some details. Tell them what you want to do. Most recruiters are honest people but do not be afraid to look for another one if the first one is sketchy. If there happens to be a unit close to you that use the LUH-72 or may be switching to them in the near future (also beware, many units plan on switching aircraft but never do), request to visit those units. Talk to the commander of that unit. Talk to anyone else there that you can, especially mechanics if possible. Make the recruiter put any promises in writing. Read ALL documents BEFORE you sign.
Looks familiar? The LUH-72 is based on the EC-145 from Eurocopter.
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