SOC Spotlight: Maintenance Controllers

As we all know, aviation is more than just planes and the people flying them, it takes entire teams and crews both on the ground and in the sky to have a safe and effective operation. Taking the time to highlight some of the lesser talked about areas of aviation is something that we strive to do. To provide not just transparency into what it takes to be a successful airline, but also highlight some of the jobs that people don’t even realize are available to them (& they come with flight benefits of course!). This week our team took the time to dig a little deeper into life as a Maintenance Controller and here is what they had to say!

You may be asking, what does a Maintenance Controller do?  Maintenance (MX) Control is the tip of the spear for Maintenance Operations. All unscheduled maintenance defects are routed through the SOC Dispatchers to our MX Control team. Once notified of a discrepancy the MX Controller will utilize either company, contract or on-call maintenance vendors throughout the system to facilitate any required repairs. Once the repairs are complete and the Controller is satisfied with the airworthiness of the aircraft, the aircraft will be returned to service by the MX Controller and passed back to the operation for continued revenue service.

What is your favorite part of coming to work? “Working with the professionals within the SOC to juggle aircraft and maintenance assets as needed to best support the operation.” said Russ R. who is a current MX Controller for us, he continued “The family of employees within the SOC are all just trying valiantly to keep a flying scheduled complete and on time. Every day is filled with different challenges and surprises, and yet the goal remains the same, keep the planes and people safe and on-schedule.”

Chris B. who is also on the maintenance team said “Aviation is a very tight knit community. Coming to work every day dealing with the same people it becomes fun family experience.” Chris continued, “Aviation isn’t for everyone but it is for someone who likes fixing things and coming up with solutions. For the younger employees, they should get as much travel in when they can and work on different airframes to better their career.” Chris comes from a factory background. When that factory shut down he went to get his A&P because he knew he always liked fixing things with his hands and aviation lets him do that in many different ways.

When talking about the team at Air Wisconsin Chris H., Director of Maintenance, said “The team is diverse. No two people on the team have walked the same path to get to this point in their career. We have had controllers fresh out of A&P School, Military veterans and Reservists, as well as internal and external line/hangar technicians.” Chris’s own background lies in 9 years working on F-18s as a jet engine mechanic, Quality Assurance Inspector after which he transitioned to Tech School where he earned degrees in Airframe/Powerplant Maintenance, and Advanced Electronics. Through those studies he earned his A&P and AET ratings.

Russ has a different story and this is his second tour of duty with Air Wisconsin. His first career spanned nearly 20 years, almost all within maintenance.  A two year sabbatical into Health Care Facility Management taught him that his true love is aviation, so he returned to us!  

Now you may be wondering “How do I know if I am the right fit for a MX controller?” The skills needed are a strong work ethic, positive attitude, a can-do mindset, and a willingness to learn. Russ said “I’d say 1 in 10 mechanics might be good a maintenance controller.  The one is a person who gets excited by weird problems, seeks out the challenge of making our operation succeed yet will stand firm ensuring our aircraft are safe and airworthy.” 

Air Wisconsin has been operating as a regional airline in the United States since 1965. We currently perform flying services for United Airlines as United Express throughout the Midwest and East Coast, operating CRJ-200 regional jets. Starting in 2023, we will be transitioning our fleet with our new partner, American Airlines. We are excited for this opportunity to join the American team and support their unrivaled regional network bringing passengers from their hometowns, large and small, to hubs that provide them with a gateway to countless travel destinations.

We would love to have you join the Air Wisconsin team!

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