Maintenance Control: The Unseen Face of Tech Ops

Maintenance Controller Steven Perez

The majority of our passengers have most likely never heard the term “Maintenance Control.”  However, the safety and timeliness of our flights depends on this important group of GoJet employees.  This department is critical to keeping our airplanes safe, our flights on schedule, and our passengers happy.

Maintenance Controllers are licensed A & P mechanics who troubleshoot aircraft mechanical issues for our pilots and mechanics at out stations.  If a GoJet pilot encounters a mechanical issue with an aircraft anywhere in the country, their first call is to Maintenance Control. Often, Maintenance Control can help the pilot correct the issue over the phone, which allows our out-station mechanics to focus on more involved repairs.  However, if it’s a more complicated problem, Maintenance Control will diagnose the likely source of the problem and recommended a course of action to local mechanics.

Our line and hangar mechanics are always outside fixing aircraft, regardless of weather conditions.  Whether it’s snow in New York or a sizzling summer in Raleigh, our line and hangar mechanics have to be outside to get the job done.  However, our Maintenance Controllers work inside Systems Operations Control (or the SOC) at our corporate headquarters in St. Louis.  That’s because Maintenance Control interfaces with many different departments, including Crew Scheduling and Dispatch, which are located in the SOC.  For example, if a flight is delayed due to a maintenance issue, Dispatch and Crew Scheduling rely on Maintenance Control to tell them to estimated fix time so that the flight can be re-scheduled and re-crewed, if necessary. Or if an aircraft can’t be fixed in time to operate a scheduled flight, Dispatch relies on Maintenance Control to recover the flight with a different aircraft.

Maintenance Controllers have a lot on their plate, to say the least.  In addition to troubleshooting problems on aircraft that are often hundreds of miles away from them and developing recovery options for out of service aircraft, they are also responsible for scheduling short-term preventative maintenance, as well as for monitoring repeat repairs.  And while a line or hangar mechanic can only work on one aircraft at a time, Maintenance Controllers are tackling dozens of issues at once.

Maintenance Controller George Thomas

“When I was a line mechanic, I just had one plane in front of me, and I was only working on one task at a time,” explains Maintenance Controller George Thomas.  “Now, I’m simultaneously working on on multiple planes, crews, and issues, which always keeps me busy.”  Maintenance Controller Steven Perez agrees.  “You’ll be going in different directions all day, so you need to make sure that you keep a cool head.”

Both George and Steve agree that the benefits of working in Maintenance Control outweigh the pressures of the job.  In addition to working inside out of the elements, a move to Maintenance Control also comes with a considerable pay increase.  And both George and Steve enjoy the people that they work with and take a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that the work that they do is so important.

“I work with great people, and there’s a fraternal atmosphere among all of us,” George remarked.  “And when you know that you’re helping 30 to 50 crews and hundreds of passengers each day, it’s a very rewarding feeling.”

Steve feels the same way.  “I work in a really good environment with like-minded professionals,” Steve says. “We all take a lot of pride in keeping our planes in the air.”

Given the enormous responsibilities that Maintenance Controllers have, Maintenance Control isn’t the place for someone right out of A & P school. Maintenance Controllers have to have a good systematic understanding of our CRJ700/900 aircraft, as well as the ability and confidence to make split second decisions that can effect the entire fleet.  Plus, good communications skills are key, as Maintenance Controllers must be able to communicate effectively across departments.

“No department has a greater impact on Tech Ops overall performance than Maintenance Control,” said Aaron Armstrong, GoJet’s Director of Maintenance.  “A single Maintenance Controller is going to make more independent decisions in a day than a line mechanic makes in month.”

“Maintenance Control isn’t for everyone,” adds Rob Truax, GoJet’s VP of Tech Ops. “We set the bar for Maintenance Controllers incredibly high – they represent some of our best and brightest Maintenance talent.”

GoJet is currently offering a $12,000 retention bonus to current and new hire Maintenance Controllers.  If you’re a licensed and experienced A & P mechanic and want to make a big impact on the operation, Maintenance Control might be a perfect fit for you.  Click here to learn more and apply online.

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