The Minneapolis Community & Technical College aircraft maintenance technician (ACMT) program that brought together a veteran aircraft mechanic and an aspiring young pilot.
Keith Norton, aircraft technician program manager and instructor, met student Mika Krogmann at the Delta Airlines hangar, where the college’s ACMT program prepares students to learn and perform extensive service, repair and detailed inspections on all types of aircraft.
What makes this bond more unusual is that the 19-year-old Krogmann works as a certified flight instructor at the Osceola Aerosport flight instruction center at the L.O. Simenstad Municipal Airport in Osceola, Wisconsin.
Finding the right instructor
“I’m his instructor in ACMT and he’s my flight instructor,” Norton said. “I have been flying since 1994 when I earned my private pilot certificate and commercial pilot certificate Aug. 4. Finding an instructor is difficult because most of them are hired by the airlines.”
Enter Krogmann from Somerset, Wisconsin. He commutes to the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport for his aircraft maintenance training. Working three jobs while attending Somerset High School, Krogmann purchased his own Cessna 150.
Norton, who bought a Piper Tri-Pacer in 2019, relates. “I have owned many planes over the years,” he said. “I ran a business restoring and modifying Cessna single-engine aircraft for use in the bush in Alaska.”
When Norton learned Krogmann was a flight instructor, it was a natural choice to begin his commercial flight training at Osceola Aerosport.
Fathers encouraged careers in flying
Both settled on career paths because of introduction to flying from their fathers. Norton grew up in Cleveland, Ohio near Wright Patterson Air Force Base, where his father was stationed after World War II and instructed B24 and B29 pilots. Krogmann’s father was a mechanic for Northwest Airlines at MSP.
“After several years as a private pilot, I decided I wanted to become an instructor in aircraft mechanics,” Norton said. “I went to school in Alaska and started teaching in 2005 at the University of Alaska-Anchorage and then Northern Michigan University before moving to Minneapolis College 2 years ago.”
Krogmann worked part-time at the Osceola Airport during his summers and weekends through high school, starting out by learning how to perform basic maintenance on small aircraft. He also was a library assistant and worked as a cook in a Somerset tavern. He qualified as a pilot instructor for Osceola AeroSport after graduation. “I wanted to become certified to work on my own airplane, so I went on the internet and found Minneapolis College.”
To qualify as a certified aircraft mechanic, students complete six semesters of training over two years. “Anecdotally, everybody who wants a job, gets a job once they complete the Minneapolis College ACMT course,” Norton said.
This article was originally posted here.