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Aircraft Engineering

Aircraft Engineering

Old Aug 11th 2011, 5:28 am
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Default Aircraft Engineering

Hello,

This is my first post so I apologise if my ignorance offends or annoys anyone.

I am an aircraft engineer currently living and working in Scotland. My simple question is, has anyone heard of people in the same profession as me making the move across the pond? It's something I'm very keen on. NC, SC, GA and FL all attract me but I don't want to get my hopes up if there's a snowballs chance in hell I'll actually be allowed over.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 6:19 am
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Default Re: Aircraft Engineering

What kind of "aircraft engineer"?

Do you design aircraft or are you a mechanic who maintains aircraft?

What level of education and what kind of qualifications do you have?

... and, most important, have you read the REALLY, READ ME: Want to Live & Work in the US? thread?
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 6:29 am
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Default Re: Aircraft Engineering

Well it's kinda hard to expain. I am licensed to maintain aircraft both on an airport in a "live" capacity and also in base maintenance in hangars. With this license I can digress into the field of testing, quality assurance etc. There is an equivelant in the US (A&P mechanic and FAA inspector) which I have looked into the course for and it all seems relatively straightforward dependant on having enough experience on US registered aircraft.

I've read the post you refer to and as I suspected my most likely form of visa would be a skilled worker under sponsorship. I know for a fact there will be massive shortfall in aircraft engineers in the next 5-10 years.

The question I'm asking though is has anyone made this move before?

My girlfriend is a teacher (primary school) and I think she's got more chance than me of getting in!
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 6:45 am
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Default Re: Aircraft Engineering

Originally Posted by Coopapalooza View Post
I've read the post you refer to and as I suspected my most likely form of visa would be a skilled worker under sponsorship. I know for a fact there will be massive shortfall in aircraft engineers in the next 5-10 years.
For an H1-B employment based visa you would need to either have a university degree or at least 12 years of experience and the job itself must require that level of qualification.

The question I'm asking though is has anyone made this move before?
I believe that there are a few people on this board who are in the aerospace industry but I don't know if any of them had experience that was directly comparable to yours.
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 6:51 am
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Default Re: Aircraft Engineering

Well I've been doing the job for 11 years now so I'm not far away on that front. The license is both a European and a Federal requirement. Certifying the aircraft as fit to fly is the crux of the matter.

I'll have a look around the site for the people you mention. Thankyou very much for your help.
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 9:07 am
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Default Re: Aircraft Engineering

Hi,

To get an H1-B, as mentioned, you need a university degree and/or experience. While there are aerospace engineers who qualify (i.e. designing new jets) whether or not you can get it maintaining aircraft is another matter.

Your girlfriend really hasn't much of a chance as a teacher, to be brutally honest. There are teacher layoffs all over the US and on top of that the chances of a local school (i.e. usually taxpayer financed) paying $5,000-$10,000 extra for visas to hire a foreign national when there are plenty of unemployed American teachers looking for work is highly unlikely.

As your girlfriend she'll have no rights to piggyback on your visa, should you find one, unless you marry her, and even then on an H1-B visa she would not have the right to work.

The other thing to note is that there are a number of US veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. With cutbacks in defense spending over the next five/ten years you may see a number of folks with significant aircraft maintenance experience entering the market.

(General note: we tend to be a bit harsh on folks not out of spite or meanness but to give you a hard, realistic look at your chances. There are plenty of types who say 'we can get you a visa for £400' but the reality is far harsher and many folks have been shafted by these 'visa services' companies).
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 9:35 am
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Default Re: Aircraft Engineering

Yeah I can see it's not going to be easy, if in fact possible at all.

Ah well, not to worry. Guess I'll have to settle for riots, rain and sky high living costs
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 9:44 am
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Default Re: Aircraft Engineering

Originally Posted by Coopapalooza View Post
Yeah I can see it's not going to be easy, if in fact possible at all.

Ah well, not to worry. Guess I'll have to settle for riots, rain and sky high living costs
Even if it's not possible now, you can still make it a long term goal to be possible in the future.

Something that I don't think has been mentioned is the L visas - international transfer from a UK to US company in your case. Aerospace is a big enough industry that I would have thought you could find a company with a presence in both countries. Now, whether you could (a) get a job with the UK firm; (b) qualify for the L visa; and (c) convince them to transfer you to the US after a year is another matter - but you could at least look into it.

Don't forget, the grass isn't necessarily any greener over in the US. Different, perhaps.
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 9:52 am
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Default Re: Aircraft Engineering

Very good points. I know of several airlines that operate both here and in the US and i'm hoping there'll be some sort of amalgamation between the FAA and EASA in the fture, or at least a working relationship better than they have now.

I am thinking medium to long term in all honesty. Perhaps 5-7 years when things have improved in the economy. I genuinely believe air travel is only going to expand as new, cheaper and greener alternatives to jet engines trickle through.

I'm still dreaming!
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 10:16 am
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Default Re: Aircraft Engineering

Canada or Oz maybe? No idea about the immigration requirements for Oz, but I know Canada is an option for aircraft engineers. Not so good for primary teachers though, and the cost of living might be an issue (although less than Oz I believe!).

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Old Aug 11th 2011, 10:28 am
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Default Re: Aircraft Engineering

To be honest Australia has never been somewhere I could see myself moving too. New Zealand interests me and Canada is somewhere I've always liked.
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 10:34 am
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Default Re: Aircraft Engineering

Originally Posted by Coopapalooza View Post
To be honest Australia has never been somewhere I could see myself moving too. New Zealand interests me and Canada is somewhere I've always liked.
No idea about NZ either, but maybe research there and Canada? Perhaps I'll see you in the Canada forum.
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 11:52 am
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Default Re: Aircraft Engineering

I think I'll just start gathering evidence of what I do. I mean pretty much everything I've done since i was 17 is recorded. Was in the RAF for 7 years then worked for a US company offshore for a year, now back in the aircraft industry!

Hopefully get in with BA, Virgin, Emirates etc. For legislative reasons they have to have European licensed guys out in the US at their bases so it's not all over!
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 2:55 pm
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Default Re: Aircraft Engineering

I think trying to work for one of the big airlines and getting a transfer is probably your best bet at the moment.

Oddly enough, we just had a similar discussion on another expat forum I'm on as a German aircraft mechanic was offered a job at a company in LA. What came out of that one is that without the US certifications you are barely allowed to look at an aircraft, let alone go near one. You'll definitely need those certs if you want to work in the US and I'm guessing that an employer might pay for them if they transfer you. Definitely research the cost, even though they might be easy for you to pass, they're probably rather expensive to pass...

I'd also research pay, you might be in for a surprise, and not necessarily a good one. The above mentioned aircraft mechanic was supposed to work on parts (that's my understanding) in a capacity that didn't need the FAA certs etc and that paid around $20/hour. I would assume this would go up with the necessary certifications but I'd look into that if I were you.
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Old Aug 11th 2011, 5:52 pm
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Default Re: Aircraft Engineering

The L visa might be your best way around it. Don't forget about aircraft manufacturers too. Maybe try getting a job with Boeing in UK then transfer to Charleston, SC. They are building the Dreamliner there. I'm in the business but on the pilot side.
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