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Fame

You probably won't get your 15 minutes of fame as an aircraft mechanic. However, you don’t really want fame in this job, as any attention drawn to yourself probably means one of the planes you worked on has gone down.

If you’ve seen the movie, you may remember Tom Cruise's macho swagger in the testosterone-fueled Top Gun. Picture Tom striding down the tarmac to his gleaming fighter jet—after multiple aircraft mechanics had spent hours prepping the high-tech machine for flight. Were the mechanics even mentioned in the movie? Not so much. But the plane wouldn't have gone up—and come down successfully—unless they had done their jobs. Maybe they’ll be featured in the sequel. Lord knows Hollywood already has it in the works.

However, you might find one glimmer of notoriety as a top air race pilot's personal mechanic. These daredevil pilots operate highly modified aircraft with split-second timing and virtually no tolerance for error. Each pilot must be able to trust that his aircraft is physically capable of the race's demands and has been maintained to perfection by a dedicated, experienced mechanic. An air race pilot often employs his own mechanic to ensure service quality and consistency. You might get your name in the program—and perhaps even a spot in the winner's circle if your pilot comes out on top.

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