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Don't you feel good when a plan comes together? As an aircraft mechanic, you'll probably feel both accomplishment and relief when a basket-case airplane finally taxis out the hangar door. You remember the aircraft's crunched-up wing when it arrived, the result of a super-bumpy landing in high wind conditions. You carefully repaired the wing's framework, replaced the fuel tank, and meticulously repaired and finished the wing as if it were your own aircraft. Finally, you sprayed on an almost-perfect coat of shiny new paint (using your supplied-air respirator and full-body protection, of course). You try to hide your smile but you just can't stop grinning. Put one in your “win” column—along with piece-of-cake repair jobs and super-happy customers who reward you with a free flight. Kind of makes up for the penny-pinching pilots, demanding maintenance shop owners, and airplanes that haven't seen a mechanic in at least five years.

Remember, too, when you completed an emergency repair job so your customer could get to that 50th anniversary reunion? And here's an absolutely true story: A commuter jet mechanic was flying out of his own airport at 5:30am on December 23rd. When he and his wife arrived at the counter, the agent regretfully informed them that the plane had a maintenance problem which would delay or cancel the flight. "Hey," the mechanic reminded the sleepy agent. "It's me! Just tell me what's wrong with the plane, and I'll go get my tools!" The mechanic sprinted to the general aviation side of the regional airport, retrieved his tools, and worked with the company's maintenance headquarters to make the plane operational. The passengers clapped and cheered when he came aboard, since his timely repair meant they could join their families for Christmas. If Santa ever has any issues with his sleigh, he may want to get in touch with that guy.