Marissa Estebanez’s interest in aviation was sparked when she was 14. A member of her school’s robotics program at the time, a representative from the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics came to the school to give a presentation.
“They said, ‘We really need aircraft mechanics. There’s a huge shortage.’ And I said, ‘Well, I don’t want to be stuck at a desk for the rest of my life. So that sounds great,’” she recounts.
Estebanez would attend Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics’ Myrtle Beach Campus, completing a 16-month A&P program.
“Before I had even graduated, even with COVID and everything, I had a job lined up at the avionics shop where I’m currently doing maintenance at – South Carolina Avionics Services,” she said.
One of the benefits of working in general aviation that Estebanez said she adores is the variety of aircraft that they get to work on.
“I get to work on some new, weird airplane every day. A lot of the time it is just 172s and 182s, but occasionally, I get something just bizarre, like an OV-10 Bronco came in for a avionics upgrade a little bit ago, and that was fun to work on. And I just like having the diversity of all the different stuff. I don’t like to be stuck in one place,” she said.
And with the different aircraft, come the people, which when looking at the aviation industry as a whole, Estebanez said is the best part of it.
“There’s a sense of, we are a team. We get the job done. We rely on each other and you’re able to find those people within an industry that is so stressful. So, that’s probably the best part of aviation for me is the people,” she said.
And for the future of the industry, Estebanez said she would like to see more people joining to keep it all going.
“Some of these old guys they need to retire. They’re great, but they can’t work until they die. That sucks for everybody,” she said with a laugh. “We’ve got our crew chief and he’s passing on all his knowledge to our younger technicians like me and it’s very much needed. So the more people can join aviation, the more people can keep up these techniques and the artistry going."