For Kerrigan Batsa, the road to becoming one of the top young aviation mechanics in the U.S. began in an unusual place: seated behind the guest services desk.
“I was working in customer service for Spirit Airlines at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, PA, when I fell in love with aviation,” Batsa says. Her budding interest inspired her to research options for entering the aircraft maintenance field, where she discovered Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics’ (PIA) Aviation Maintenance Technology program. “My coworkers at the airport had all attended PIA, and they had nothing but good things to say about the school and their jobs.”
Batsa continued to work as an operations agent and station lead for Spirit while she earned her A&P license from PIA’s Myrtle Beach campus.
While Batsa enjoyed PIA’s hands-on education — especially learning how to work with sheet metal — she says her most important lesson was the value of working well in a team, which is so crucial to success in the field. Upon graduating from PIA in January of 2020, Batsa was hired as an aircraft maintenance technician for PSA Airlines in Charlotte, NC. In this role, Batsa works the line during the day where she responds to maintenance calls for outgoing flights, and she also performs overnight maintenance on planes at rest in the hangar.
“Every day is different,” says Batsa. “You never know what you could be fixing next.”
In October of 2020, Batsa was honored as one of the recipients of Aircraft Maintenance Technology Magazine’s 2020 Next Gen Aircraft Maintenance Professionals 40 Under 40 Awards. The awards recognize outstanding young aviation maintenance professionals who are making a difference in the field.
Batsa is proud to be a role model for other young women who are considering a career in aviation maintenance. Her decision to switch career paths offers a reminder that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.
“If you have common sense, you can do this job,” Batsa encourages. “Don’t hesitate.”