Issued by Duncan Aviation.
November 10, 2020
Thanks to the inquisitive, action-oriented nature of Duncan Aviation airframe mechanic II Brody Wullschleger, the Duncan Aviation airframe and powerplant apprenticeship programmes have received approval from the Veterans Administration for the use of VA benefits for living expenses while participating in either of Duncan Aviation's apprenticeship programmes. Although the programmes hadn't yet received US Department of Labor certification at the time Wullschleger went through orientation at Duncan Aviation's Lincoln, Nebraska, location in August 2018, he realised other veterans would eventually be able to take advantage of their VA Benefits while participating in some of the provided training.
Wullschleger, who had served as an MP in the US Army, had no aviation experience when he started at Duncan Aviation as a tech helper a little more than two years ago. While working full time, Wullschleger began studying and attending classes for his airframe certification.
“I had been talking to a friend who works at the VA here in Lincoln, and she mentioned that the post-9/11 GI Bill included a provision for benefits for on-the-job training,” said Wullschleger. “I was able to use the benefits for living expenses and apply some toward tools.”
After Brody mentioned what he'd found out from his friend at the VA, Lincoln's airframe manager Jeremy Rangel followed up with some inquiries and phone calls. Although there is no cost to Duncan Aviation team members to attend the airframe or engine apprenticeship programmes, veterans can use their benefits as Wullschleger did to help offset the cost of tools, and they can use their monthly housing allowance (MHA) toward living expenses while they're taking classes, learning new skills or working toward their FAA certification for airframe and/or powerplant.
“We cover the cost of the programme, including books, training and testing,” says Rangel. “Further, techs who are in the programme are working full-time and are paid while they're training. The VA benefits Brody mentioned to us help offset living expenses for veterans, especially those who are supporting families.”
Additionally, Performance Aircraft of Lincoln notified Duncan Aviation in early November that the company will now be proctoring all FAA airmen knowledge tests. Because that inludes the written portion of the tests for airframe and powerplant licenses, Duncan Aviation apprentices in Lincoln who are ready to take their written FAA exams will no longer have to drive to Omaha to find an FAA-authorised proctor for the exam. In addition to administering the written exam for the A&P license, Performance Aircraft is also authorised to proctor exams for private pilot, intstrument, commercial, CFI, ATP, unmanned aircraft and more.
Wullschleger took and passed all of the exams for his airframe license in August this year. He enjoys working at Duncan Aviation, and he feels he receives the training he needs. He is also pleased with the many opportunities for advancement.
“I plan to take a little break from the books and then get back to work studying and attending classes for my powerplant license,” says Wullschleger. “In the next two years, I'd like to be a lead mechanic, and we'll see where things go from there.”