Teaching is 2nd career for Craft

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 2, 2014

Opp native David Craft has found a second career as an instructor for the Alabama Aviation Center.

“I left here in 1984 and joined the Air Force,” he said. “I started off doing avionics with electronics. I just loved it.

“I stayed with it for 27 years, and retired about 2011 as a chief master sergeant, which is an E9. I literally traveled the world doing aircraft maintenance.”

When he began contemplating retirement, he realized that though he had several degrees, he didn’t have the needed certifications to work in the civilian world.

“I used a very uncommon approach to get A&P certification,” he said. “It’s a great credential for the civilian world to wrap a set of skills up in one basket.”

Now, he teaches the courses civilians need to earn an airframe certificate.

“Students could expect to get a job doing things like performing aircraft inspections, repairing sheet metal and composite structures, and building, altering or doing modifications to aircraft,” he said. “The national average is around $14 to start, and those certified can earn up to $30 an hour.”

On a given day in December, a quick database search showed almost 1,000 jobs open in the field, and some of those were available locally, he said.

He encourages adults or high school students who are interested to visit him at South Alabama Regional Airport.

“Come down here and talk to me,” he said. “Let me explain the program.”

Craft said he enjoyed seeing the world, but always dreamed of moving home.

“I like having this job,” he said. “I try to let people know aviation is a neat way to make a living.”

He can be contacted at dcraft@escc.edu or 334.222.0133.