My OJT Experience

Island Transvoyager Inc. (ITI), A. Soriano Hangar, General Aviation Area, Pasay City.

The company is an air taxi charter airline with daily flights to El Nido, Palawan, operating with two Dornier 228-200 Turbo-prop, 19-seater Aircraft.


Aircrafts. Helicopters. Line Maintenance. Test Flights. Island Getaway.

Yup, it all sounds exciting for my 420-hour on-the-job experience.

But not everyday was like that..

Me and fellow co-ojts have to spend time basking in the sun refueling the aircraft, sweating profusely while vacuuming the hot cabin floor, or braving the heavy rains to put in the tire chocks. At the end of the day, we were so exhausted we can die in bed. It’s even hard for us to fill up our monthly time cards, its full of spaces like a crossword puzzle waiting to be answered.

But an OJT gotta do what he’s gotta do. It’s the life of an aspiring Airline Mechanic.
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All of them had their own stories on how they got their regular position. Usually, hoping from one company to another, spending years as an Ojt without pay or allowance, and eventually earning their Airframe & Powerplant Licenses.


And its the one thing i salute and respect them for: their firm perseverance and their vital experience. They might not be as intelligent as an engineer, but those two are what they are paid for, which an engineer sometimes lack. (which explains that most hangars don’t have an engineer just highly experienced mechanics,only big airline
companies hire engineers)


My 5 years of classroom training in engineering was rendered useless. I was dumb-stricken when i saw a real turbo-jet engine. It was very different form the full-colored, animated PowerPoint presentations. The engine parts are unidentifiable looking all metal gray. I wished that the blue, red, green colors of different parts would show up just like in the books.

But with experience, one can get familiar with it eyes closed. The Mechanics are actually trained in Germany on a timely basis, it is where the Dornier Aircraft originated. It also means extending their working contract for a number of years.
But for the ojts like us, we are contented handing out tools, cleaning aircraft parts and the sorts, We learn by observation. We also rely to the mechanics or to the more experienced Ojt on what they teach us.

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But what we, the Ojts, are all too familiar with is during the landing and take-off turn-a-rounds, assisting the aircraft before and after take-offs and landings. It includes: cleaning the airframe from mud, shampooing it, hand-rotating the propellers to cool off the engine, connecting the ground power unit, refueling the tanks, vacuuming the cabin floor, laying out the red carpet, and saying “Watch your head!” to unsuspecting passengers before they bump their heads on the door ceiling. The company should give us our share of the Passengers Assistance Fee they give to employees. (Haha! I wish!)

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I have a degree in Aeronautical Engineering, and one could end up having an office job. I was just lucky to be a nephew of the company’s Maintenance manager, so i easily got in. Most of my mates, have also contacts inside. If you don’t have one, chances are nil that you’ll get in. That’s the way of the Aviation industry, or any other industry per se.

Working as OJT on this company is good. Since it’s a relatively small airline (compare to Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Zest Air, Lufthansa and the likes), one is not attached to one office or department only, one can try out different job routines hands-on: Airframe, Powerplant, Avionics, Line Maintenance etc. Because in big airlines, one is usually attached to a department only, say the pneumatics dept. or the brake shop, or worse, an office job photocopying flight manuals.


I had a chance to ride during the test flights, after say we installed a new engine. I experienced the roller coaster rides and when the pilot intentionally flies the plane to turbulent air. What I cannot forget, is my when I went to El Nido Palawan Airport, when one lone passenger paid the whole expense of chartering the aircraft just to get him to the island. The pilot asks who wants to come because they won’t be having passengers on the return flight, so I immediately signed the waiver and off i fly the 2-hour round trip!



And oh, i got a chance to photographed with a sleek-looking aircraft: the Piaggio Avanti P.180 when it briefly visited the CAAP hangar just on the other side of the taxi way.

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Before all those, i was on the verge on quitting my OJT, and just get my certificate of whatever hours i did. It was like, just 250 hours or so. (Most of my college classmates, did that anyway). That was when i was feeling tired and fed up already that I'm not learning something new and all is just routine with nothing significant happening,
With encouragement from my dad and friends, i persevered and didn’t quit. Glad i did!

The On-the-Job training is a very important part of our career, as it gives us a glimpse of what a real life situation after graduation is. Choosing where and what we do while in there is a vital part of our profession, especially if it is field we are passionate about.


Employees of ITI and I at the company outing at Laguna. (May 2009)

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Follow the life of a young Aeronautical Engineering student as he tackles life in college and after. A personal account on the exciting world of aviation, life and passion.

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