It is hard to feel like a professional when you are working on the ramp on a cold and rainy night with the rain running down your neck. You’ve dropped a wrench just as the crew chief leans out a truck window and asks what is taking you so long. What you would like to say at that very moment can’t be printed here, but this is when you have to remind yourself that you are a professional and “bite your tongue.” Are we really professionals? The

word professional comes from the latin word professus and was used in the Christian world in approximately the 13th century. “To profess” means to take a vow, oath or promise, i.e., as a monk professing to live the ideals of the religious order to the highest standards for the good of the public. While the word has evolved past just the religious right, it still infers a high standard of ethics and working in the public’s interest. The dictionary says that a professional is, “a person who has acquired specialized knowledge that lives and is guided by a specific code of ethics.” At the top of the professional list are doctors whom take a modernized version of the “Hippocratic Oath” (which originated in approximately the fourth century BC and is among many ethics promises) that states to do no harm to the patient. Nurses are also included in this list as are engineers and somewhere down the list, even lawyers. Sadly there are no AMEs or AMTs on the list, as they are considered to do a trades or craft and fall in the “blue collar” category. We have a “Mechanic’s Creed” written in 1941 by Safety professional Jerome Lederer. I have a faded copy of it still hanging on my hangar wall. I signed it on Oct. 20, 1983, when


the Pacific Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Association provided all their members with copies. This should be our code of ethics, but the title would have to be updated. By the way, A&Ps and AMTs could have been aircraft maintenance engineers like the UK, Canada, Australia and others, but no, your ancestors had to go and have a Boston tea party way back in 1773. Let’s look at what makes a

professional (in my humble opinion): 1. Has acquired specialized knowledge. This is us as we have to have very specialized knowledge in airframes, engines, electrical systems, etc., on many different aircraft. We are tested for our knowledge and our license doesn’t come out of a Cracker Jack box. I’ve always said that given enough bananas, a monkey could be taught to fly (at least a simple simulator) but there aren’t enough bananas in the world to train him to do a 100-hour inspection.

2. Acquire our status by accomplishment. By this I mean you must also gain experience

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before your license is granted. In many countries this can take five years.

3. Bases our decisions on specialized knowledge, conformity to a standard and not on self-interest. We are required to always certify to an established standard. The FARs (and CARs in Canada) dictate just how we certify aeronautical products and if we include the maintenance control manual you’ll see we have a lot of standards to which we must conform.

4. Are dedicated to quality workmanship. I believe that the vast majority of us are dedicated. We are well aware that lives can depend on our decisions and every AME/AMT whom I’ve ever met would go to great lengths to ensure the job is done right.

5. Don’t allow circumstances to sway our judgment from the correct course of action. This can be a challenge when peer, management and self-pressure wants to meet the designated departure time (see the March

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