Michael Gonzalez, a senior at Will Carleton Academy, works on degreasing an engine at the Hillsdale Airport.
Hillsdale, Michigan -- With the hangar doors open at the Hillsdale Municipal Airport, a mist of engine degreaser glistened in the sunshine as Will Carleton Academy senior Michael Gonzalez worked under a Beechcraft airplane.
Gonzalez, who has had a love for airplanes since the age of 9, is part of a work-study program at the airport.
Under the tutelage of Gene Stout, head mechanic, Gonzalez is learning a skill that will lead him to a career of his choice.
“Back then, I wanted to be a commercial pilot ... now I want to be an airplane mechanic,” he said. “Maintenance is a little cheaper route to go.”
Gonzalez recently passed his entrance exam at Michigan Institute of Aviation and Technology, allowing him to pursue an airplane maintenance degree.
He has also begun logging time to gain his pilot license. With five hours under his belt, he is also hoping to complete it while earning his maintenance degree in airframe and power plant.
“I love being up in the clouds, it is so peaceful on most days,” he said. “I also love going fast.”
His invitation to the work-study program came earlier this year while visiting a family member who has a plane at the airport. It was then he ran into Airport Manager Jason Walters.
“He told me he was impressed with my knowledge of planes,” Gonzalez said. “He said if I wanted the position, it was mine.”
He began working with Stout in November, and since then, he has fallen in love with airplane maintenance.
“I love working on planes,” he said.
Original article can be found here: http://www.hillsdale.net