How to Transition from Military to Aviation Maintenance


Wayne Browning, better known as Boe, got his start in aviation right after graduating high school. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, and was trained to become a Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion structures mechanic.

After completing his military service, Browning was offered a supervisory maintenance position that required Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certifications. Despite his extensive experience, he needed his Federal Aircraft Administration (FAA) licensure…and fast.

F-18 Hornet And Sailors

Like anyone hoping to work in aircraft maintenance, Boe needed to complete a certain number of FAA-approved hours working on aircraft. He also needed to qualify for, and pass, FAA testing requirements.

Browning attended a maintenance course, obtained his A&P certifications, and went on to work on many different types of aircraft for companies such as Reliance Aerotech, Hawker Beechcraft Services and PEMCO World Air Services, among others.

Boe has conquered the transition from military to aircraft mechanic firsthand. He knows the challenges and rewards that are possible during this period and how to navigate them. Boe states that, “the attributes that you learn in the military are the key to success IF you can manage them in the civilian world.”

Browning worked as instructor at National Aviation Academy (NAA) for about five years before being promoted to vice president of education in August of 2016. He now works directly with the student body in an advisory capacity, addressing students concerns and taking in suggestions to ensure that NAA is consistently improving the student experience for those who are new to education, changing careers or transitioning from military to civil life.

Whether you have maintenance experience, like Boe, or are brand new to aviation, you can become a certified A&P mechanic in as little as fourteen months by attending NAA. Our aviation maintenance and advanced aircraft services programs are designed so that students can get an in-depth education, preparing them to work for industry leaders in record time.

As transitioning military at NAA, you will:

  • get the skills, structure, and support needed to enter the aviation maintenance workforce.
  • be put into direct contact with industry leaders so that you can enter a high-paying and rewarding career.
  • be offered the opportunity to apply the same dedication, passion and drive with which you served to the next phase of your life.

“Skills such as leadership, organizational training and accountability translate directly to aviation maintenance, but you must also learn professionalism and how to conduct yourself. At NAA, you will learn how to build on your military training and succeed in the industry,” says Browning.

For more information about how to make the transition to aviation maintenance, contact our Tampa Bay campus at (800) 659-2080 or our New England campus at (800) 292-3228.

Industry Trends: Planes in Costume


It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a… giant bag of gummy bears?

Vehicle wrapping and complex paint jobs have been low key everywhere in the custom car community. These techniques have allowed cars to be used as roving advertisements for businesses, and have given that extra something to modded whips. Enthusiasts have applied unique designs, colors and, you guessed it, glitter to their rides.

The custom paint trend is now being applied to largescale aircraft, and its use on planes and other flying machines has been huge—literally.

Alaska Airlines Spirit of Disneyland 737-400

Aircraft have been spotted in disguise, donning famous faces or identities altogether. Planes have been dressed up as a wide variety of characters from Disney classics, to Pokémon’s famed Pikachu, to what looks like a flying Iron Maiden band T-shirt.

Iron Maiden's Ed Force One Airplane

Designs are being executed with specific intentions. A plane disguised as a giant Duracell battery travels during the holidays to deliver donated gifts for Toys for Tots. More often though, these aircraft serve promotional purposes and have been popular with fans of the featured franchises or brands. Emirates, for example, has released a series for soccer lovers.

Real Madrid Emirates

Perhaps most notably, Nippon Airways put four Star Wars-themed jets into commercial service, flying internationally out of Tokyo. Last year, a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner was transformed into the lovable droid R2-D2, and a Boeing 777-300ER was painted in the likeness of one of the newest characters, BB-8. In March of this year, a Boeing 777 widebody jet began flying as Star Wars’ most fussy droid, C-3PO.


(Nippon Airways Star Wars display at Brussels Airport. Image by Brussels Airport / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Today, as many of us get into costume for Halloween with family and friends, what are your thoughts on this industry trend? Are disguised planes here to stay? We know one thing, designing and executing these paint jobs must have been a treat!