Aviation Students Get Careers Off The Ground

joann-chan
el-vaquero-staff-writer/" class="creditline">JOANN CHAN
El Vaquero Staff Writer

The aviation
maintenance program’s Air
Agency Certificate allows the
FAA the right to come into the
classrooms and audit the classes.
Tony Owen, an assistant
professor of aviation, is a
designated examiner for the
FAA.

The aviation maintenance
program is a rigorous program
that covers 64 units within a
FAA-approved curriculum. The
FAA requires a minimum of
1,900 hours of instruction.
“There are 44 different subjects
in our program here,” said
Rubke.

The students also gain a good
deal of field experience. “We do
a lot of [maintenance on school
airplanes] every day after lunch;
we go out to Van Nuys Airport
and Whiteman Airport in
Pacoima to help out on planes,”
said Mecha.

Those in the aviation
maintenance program are “like a
family,” said Rubke. Also,
“There’s diversity in students,”
said Rubke. Besides diversity in
ethnicities, there are usually one
to two women in every class, he
said.

The aviation school, which
had two buildings [the
Aviation/Art Building [AA
Building] and the Aviation
Hangar Building, [the “Old
Hangar” building, as people call
it], must consolidate everything
into one building.

The old Aviation Hangar
Building will be torn down and
replaced with a new building for
Allied Health and the Digital
Arts Design Academy.

“It is a long-term, quality
program, and nobody knows
about it,” says Rubke, who
would like the aviation school
become more familiar to the
community through marketing.
It provides the “fast track to a
good job; entry-level students
make good money,” he said.
The Aviation Maintenance
Program is moving to the
evenings starting in the fall — a
change that will accommodate
students who have day jobs.
GCC’s Aviation School (yes,
there has been an aviation school
since 1939), provides three
different programs of study:
aviation maintenance, pilot
training and flight attendant
training.


The goal throughout these
programs is to teach students the
skills needed to get jobs after
earning their certificates, said
Scott Rubke, the aviation
department chair.

After discussions with
administrators and counselors,
the aviation maintenance
program is moving to the
nighttime because enrollment
has dropped in the day program.
“[The students] are [at the
college] all day, everyday,” said
Rubke. A significant reason for
the low enrollment is that
“students need to work,
including students out of high
school,” he said. “Class sizes
usually start at 25 and lower to
11 or 12 students.” The evening
program will accommodate
people who need to work in the
daytime.

The Aviation Maintenance
Program not only trains students
for aircraft mechanic positions,
but many students who earn a
mechanic’s certificate go on to
pursue other vocations, said
Rubke. “It’s a [fast] way to a
well-paying job,” said Rubke.
“You can use [your certificate]
in so many different areas.”
About 50 percent of students do
not go into aviation jobs. The
broad curriculum makes
graduates attractive to many
other industries in the corporate
and general community,” said
Rubke.

Just as a pilot needs to have a
pilot’s license, maintenance trainees earn a mechanic’s
certificate. After the program,
students have to take a written
examination, an oral
examination and a practical
examination [for both power
plants and airframes] with the
Federal Aviation Association.
GCC is a FAA-Approved
Aviation Maintenance
Technician School. The aviation
maintenance program’s Air
Agency Certificate allows the
FAA the right to come into the
classrooms and audit the classes.
Tony Owen, an assistant
professor of aviation, is a
designated examiner for the
FAA.


The aviation maintenance
program is a rigorous program
that covers 64 units within a
FAA-approved curriculum. The
FAA requires a minimum of
1,900 hours of instruction.
“There are 44 different subjects
in our program here,” said
Rubke.

The students also gain a good
deal of field experience. “We do
a lot of [maintenance on school
airplanes] every day after lunch;
we go out to Van Nuys Airport
and Whiteman Airport in
Pacoima to help out on planes,”
said Mecha.

Those in the aviation
maintenance program are “like a
family,” said Rubke. Also,
“There’s diversity in students,”
said Rubke. Besides diversity in
ethnicities, there are usually one
to two women in every class, he
said.

The aviation school, which
had two buildings [the
Aviation/Art Building [AA
Building] and the Aviation
Hangar Building, [the “Old
Hangar” building, as people call
it], must consolidate everything
into one building.

The old Aviation Hangar
Building will be torn down and
replaced with a new building for
Allied Health and the Digital
Arts Design Academy.
“It is a long-term, quality
program, and nobody knows
about it,” says Rubke, who
would like the aviation school
become more familiar to the
community through marketing.

It provides the “fast track to a
good job; entry-level students
make good money,” he said.