acquired two Falcon 20’s converted to cargo configurations. After seven years, Dillavou started to have some stress issues. “I was probably a DOM a little bit too early in my career,” he shares. “I decided that I wanted to go back to working as a mechanic again instead of dealing with all of the stress involved with supervising 10 employees and managing a maintenance department.”

was horrible for aviation,” Dillavou says. “The airlines weren’t hiring and there were no jobs. Right across the field was Aero Taxi. Aero Taxi was a cargo carrier that operated Beech 18’s and Mitsubishi MU-2’s. I started there working line service until I got my A&P, then I worked as a mechanic making around $7.00/hour. “Learning on the Beech 18’s

was a great experience,” Dillavou continues. “However, we didn’t work on the MU-2’s because as an older gentleman told me, ‘We can’t work on that — that’s a jet.’ We were flying the aircraft to Smyrna, TN to get SOAP (Spectrometric Oil Analysis Program) samples! Luckily for me, a new field rep for Allied Signal named Russ Formica had experience on TFE331 engines. He mentored me and helped me get up to speed on the MU-2’s. I started maintaining and troubleshooting the MU-2 thanks to the help of a lot of mentors. Aero Taxi’s owner, Rich Gibson, agreed to send me to Mitsubishi school in Smyrna, TN. Then we started doing all the maintenance on our MU-2’s.”


AUTHORIZATION Exactly three years to the day after Dillavou got his A&P, he went to test for his IA. Dillavou exclaimed, “It was an extra $1.00/hour if I got my IA! I was making $10.00/hour back then — it was a huge pay increase for me! “Something I’m really proud of is that I finished the IA test before lunch,” Dillavou continues. “That’s back when it was a real test — you had to bring in all your materials and write your essays. It wasn’t on a computer — it was all hand-written. They were getting ready to break for lunch and I said, ‘I’m done!’ They thought I had cheated because most people took all day to take the test. I said, ‘How do you cheat on an open- book test?!’ I had prepared myself. I read a lot. I also went to an IA three- day class where I learned what I needed to do to prepare for the test.” When Dillavou was 24, the DOM

at Aero Taxi left the company, and Dillavou was promoted to replace him. In addition to the Beech 18’s and the MU-2’s, the company

RAYTHEON Dillavou went to work for Raytheon in Rockford as a mechanic. Two months later, he was asked to be a lead mechanic, which he accepted. Six months after that, the shop foreman took a job with another company. Dillavou was asked to be the shop foreman, and he accepted. “I was right back to where I was,” Dillavou says. “I went from managing 10 people at Aero Taxi to 40 people at Raytheon!”

NEWELL After working at Raytheon for a while, Newell Corporation had a need for another mechanic. Newell had a corporate flight department in Rockford next to Aero Taxi’s hangar. It operated Falcon 10’s and King Airs, and was in the process of acquiring a Falcon 900. “Mike Hoffman was the chief of maintenance for Newell,” Dillavou says. “Mike and I were good friends, and he called me one day because he knew I had experience on Falcon 20’s and offered me a job. I accepted the offer and went back to the corporate aviation world working as a mechanic for Mike at Newell. “It was a great job,” Dillavou

says. “I thought it would be the job I would never leave. Then the new CEO came along. We went to Chicago O’Hare to pick him up in a King Air. He said, ‘Props belong on boats.’ After that, the dynamics

8 | june 2019

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