View Full Version : When I first started with Aircraft
One of the old characters I first encountered in Aircraft Sheet Metal was an old bloke that had been in the industry all his life started as an Aircraft Carpenter working for Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, and actually worked on the "Southern Cross".
Someone asked Roy could he work with metal. Roy replied in the affirmative and became one of the first Aircraft sheeties.
I wondered how the wheel turns when, a couple of years ago, I was asked "can you work with composites?" I quickly learned carbon fibre lay up, eventually writing a course for teaching others these new skills.
I'll never forget my first jet, a Vampire. It taxied up to the hangar, and expecting the same effect as the wash from a propellor, I walked behind it. Knocked me over and I tumbled like a piece of paper in the wind about 20 yards down the tarmac. Took a couple of weeks for the gravel rash and burns to heal.
I think my favourite aircraft is still the F86 Sabre. We Aussies re-engined the North American version with an Avon engine - far superior.
Anyone like to share their recollections of the early days of metal aircraft?
10-31-2004, 07:27 AM
I'm just starting out in this aircraft sheet metal fabrication area, and am researching alot of stuff. I'm a woodworker hobbiest mainly, and have fair to good hand tool skills. My occupation, (Instructor) has led me into teaching an aviation sheet metal course. I have only a couple of months to develop and learn alot of new skills to teach.
Here in New Mexico, several aviation companies are moving in, and they are looking for trained individuals to work for them. It has been put into my pot of responsibilities to take on this task. While doing some research on sheet metal, I've stumbled into this website and find it very informative, and after reading your post, I think you would be a great resourse for me to ask questions, and learn from your experiences.
I hope you don't mind sharing your wealth of information, and know that this information will be shared with many other new to the field, students. If not, know that I'll still be reading your posts, learning and picking up terminology from you. Thanks.
There must be many different types of training for a sheet metal worker to specialize in when working sheet metal for aircraft? I would think that all parts are computer generated and cut and a high tech system in place for the pop rivets? This would be interesting to see what is all involved in sheet metal work for aircraft.
Welcome to TheSheetMetalShop.Com
I'm happy to answer your questions. A good starting point for you would be to get hold of the FAA Handbooks, particularly the General and Airframe ones. Dale Crane's books on Aircraft Sheet metal are particularly useful.
Aircraft Sheet Metal is now known as "Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Structures)" here in Australia. To gain the qualification one has to serve a 4 year apprenticeship and complete 960 hours of technical college training ( a course I used to teach). To teach the subjects one must hold the qualification and have had 10 years of industrial experience. The rigorous nature of the training perhaps accounts for the enviable record on safety held by Australian based Aircraft operators.
General Sheet metal Workers entering the aircraft field are required to complete a 60 hour theory course to bring them up to speed in background knowledge, and employers usually spend considerable time helping them develop their practical skills.
Best of luck with your preparations.
11-06-2004, 03:42 PM
We are teaching Aircraft Sheet metal Assemblers here. They will have all the parts pre-cut, formed and bent I'm sure, and its my job to teach the basic skills.
We had a guy from Kansas come out and get us started. Witchita used to be one of the largest locations for aviation sheet metal, but the industry has really slowed down there. Our mayor is trying to make Albuquerque the next aircapital. We'll see how that works out.
I have read some manuals and hand books from Dale Crane and find them very helpful. The stories he could tell.....!!!???
Thanks for sharing your skill and knowledge with me. I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions and stories for you. As soon as I get a web page going, I'll give you a link to take a look at. Comments and suggestions would be much appreciated also.
Again, thanks and I'll be sure to give you credit with all the answers you can give me. Its great to know that I have another source for experienced and knowledgeable answers....
11-14-2005, 05:48 PM
I worked in this field for three years, started with Bristol Areospace in Winnipeg Manitoba at 22, it was the most interesting type of sheet metal I've worked in it really teaches you you be pecise and neat in your work, which is lacking in the type of business I'm in now. We had the contract to do maintenence on the old CF101 Voodoo still love that plane, man could they roar. Had to quit though, my Dad was a boss and I ended up having conflicts with upper management and a marriage break up, and decided to move west.
Sorry to hear of the bad news, good luck on your new endeavors. The HVAC side of the business is often forgiving. The wonders of a duct stretcher. :)
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