Up to four potential interns can get hands-on mechanical experience this summer at Wipaire by applying for its Gateway to Success A&P internship program, the St. Paul, Minnesota, float manufacturer and modifications company announced Jan. 20.
For the third straight year, students pursuing a Part 147 airframe and powerplant maintenance certificate have the opportunity to work side by side with experienced Wipaire mechanics to gain real-world experience.
One of the company’s first interns, Max Holly, has landed a full-time job at the facility following his graduation from A&P school. “Through the internship, I learned a lot that wasn’t covered in school,” Holly told colleagues in a company newsletter after he completed the training. Wipaire said it was committed to hiring its interns for full-time work if there is an open position and if the intern shows proper qualifications.
“Our interns have continued to impress me and have proven the value of this internship program,” said Jason Erickson, Wipaire’s maintenance director. “This is precisely what we wanted to see.” Erickson said the company has a growing need for skilled technicians, echoing the sentiments of A&P instructors across the country, who are seeing an uptick in their programs as veteran mechanics retire.
According to the announcement, Wipaire’s Gateway to Success program “seeks to develop aviation maintenance technicians by helping to equip students with an employable skill set and professional attitude. Additionally, the program supports keeping skilled young aviation technicians in Minnesota.”
Interested applicants can apply through the company’s website; a copy of the applicant’s transcript must be attached to the application.
Additionally, the company announced on Jan. 11 the return of its $1,500 Ben Wiplinger Memorial Seaplane Rating Scholarship that was established in 2015 to celebrate Wipaire’s fifty-fifth anniversary and founder Ben Wiplinger’s contributions to aviation.
“The response to the scholarship last year was beyond our expectations,” Chuck Wiplinger, the founder’s grandson and company president, said on the website. “We’re excited to bring the scholarship back for 2016. It’s a way for us to give back to our industry, to [invest] in the growth of the seaplane community, and to honor my grandfather and his vision.”
Ben Wiplinger began his aviation career by building a Pietenpol Air Camper and worked as a machinist, auto body technician, and aircraft mechanic. He subseuqently served as a mechanic in the Army Air Forces. After the war, he converted ex-military aircraft into executive and corporate aircraft and established Wiplinger Aircraft Service. He died in 1992, his float manufacturing and modification business was passed to his son Bob, and it continues as a third-generation family-run venture.
The Ben Wiplinger Memorial Seaplane Rating Scholarship application may be downloaded, and entries must be received by May 31.