“When I was a teenager, I’d help my father disassemble and overhaul gas turbines, and in the summers, I’d help my brother-in-law build his experimental plane,” he said.
Learning remains an adventure that ultimately brought him to Textron Aviation, where he’s exchanged gas turbines for jet engines as a member of the unscheduled maintenance crew at the company’s service center in Houston, Texas.
Known to technicians and customers as the ‘drop-in’ crew, the team handles a variety of work scopes, from routine tire checks to emergency repairs. Often, the crew must complete their work within a day or even hours. Occasionally, they may also take on large-scale work that can take weeks to complete.
The work completed by this team in Houston offers Ascherl a change of pace that suits him perfectly, he said.
“It’s fun to have a small job one day and then another job that lasts a week,” he said. “Last week, we had a King Air project with major inspections, and now I’m working on a Hawker 200 with a big deadline.”
For Ascherl, meeting the demands of an aviation maintenance technician at a world-class service facility wouldn’t be possible without a dedication to learning. Today, Textron Aviation is helping him expand his technical skills beyond what he learned in the classroom.
I’ve learned everything here, he said. Even with my experience working on turbines with my dad and going to school, coming to Textron Aviation to work on airplanes is a completely different ball game.Anthony Ascherl, maintenance aviation technician, Textron Aviation Houston service center
As he gains more expertise, having mentors by his side has proved essential to the learning process. Ascherl frequently leans on his lead technician in Houston to help him master the technical work behind Cessna, Beechcraft and Hawker aircraft.
“You need guidance in this field, and it’s good to have a lead and other people teaching you because, without them, you’re not going to do as well,” Ascherl said.
In aircraft maintenance, one process in particular requires an innovative mindset and inclination for learning: troubleshooting. When an aircraft has an unknown issue, technicians must research and analyze complex schematic diagrams to identify the root cause of the discrepancy.
“Troubleshooting skills don’t just happen naturally and it’s something I’m still learning,” Ascherl said. “You have to understand what a schematic drawing is trying to tell you, and that’s something that you can only achieve with practice and an expert by your side.”
The expertise comes from a team of long-serving technicians, some with decades of experience under their belt. Through them, Ascherl has gained even more insight into the aviation industry and what it takes to grow a career at Textron Aviation.
“We’re a team dedicated to precision,” he said. “Sometimes not everything is simple, and we like solving problems.”
Ascherl said he values the company’s dedication to collaboration, teamwork and growth. Since joining the team in Houston, he’s completed additional training on newer aircraft like the Citation Longitude jet and made lifelong friends along the way.
“I’m working for a big company, but it feels like I’m working for a smaller one,” Ascherl said. “Some of the people I work with directly are close friends now.”
Ultimately, Ascherl wants to share his knowledge and joy for aviation with the next generation of Textron Aviation technicians and move up the ranks as he continues building relationships with customers and colleagues.