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Clint Groves tells us what it was like working as a mechanic his first days on the job.
Author: Clint Groves
Submitted by: Clint69   Date: 09-28-2003
Comments: (4)  

ay, 1965, I had just graduated from Spartan school of Aeronautics in Tulsa with a fresh A&P ticket in my pocket. With no immediate job offerings I had returned home to Louisville and left applications with the FBOs at Bowman Field when I got a call from Central Airlines. They wanted me to report to work ASAP at their Greater Southwest International Airport (GSW), a spot that still stands in the southwest corner of DFW airport.

Wow! I'd made it into the big times, $ 2.92 an hour to start, a far cry from the $ 1.00 an hour minimum wage. I was assigned to the swing shift at the hangar and assigned to an old mechanic who was about to retire. We would go to the terminal and taxi back Convair 240s and DC3s, fuel them and work off the write-ups. The old man, I can't begin to remember his name, would sit on the wings with a big aviation fuel nozzel in his hands and a lighted cigarette in his mouth. Sometimes the ashes would fall and almost go into the tank, to this day I don't know what kept us from becoming crispey critters.

I remember the day before I was to transfer to Kansas City, Missouri (MKC) I was told to go to the cockpit of a C47, release the brakes and pull back on the tail lock wheel release under the throttle quadrant. I did exactly as told and in a few feet of movemnt heard a loud report from the tail followed by the curses of three mechanics.

"I thought I told you to pull back on the tail wheel lock" Groweled the lead. "I did" I insisted. "You couldn't have" the lead said, "Didn't you put it into the lock detent?" "No, you never mentioned that" I said.

Years later I realized I had been set up, just like new people sent for a bucket of prop wash or a set of pad eye covers. I had to wear the broken tail wheel lock pin just like the albatross around the neck of the poor soul in that famous classic.

Yep, my time would come. My mind is much more devious.

by Clint Groves

Member Comments :

 comment by: Andrew posted on 12-09-2003, comment #41

Great to hear these stories Clint as it is rare we hear these things from the past. I hope you contribute more!


 comment by: selier posted on 02-13-2004, comment #65

Clint, as a maintenance engineer myself for 33 years I recognize that kind of jokes. Thanks for this story, it's remind me on the past. Keep contributing plaese.

 comment by: Loud707 posted on 06-27-2006, comment #2271

Loved it

 comment by: norherman posted on 09-13-2007, comment #4335

Where I worked, if you broke the pin, out came the brass safety wire and you wore it around your neck for the rest of the shift, of coures you had to get the old pin out, which wasn't always fun. Dirty jobs and all the jokes went to the rookies all in good fun.