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BOBBY BROWNING: ASA LEAD MECHANIC

Maria-Jose Subiria

msubiria@news-daily.com

Knowing that it takes the combination of his physical and mental labor to help airplanes get back in the air brings Bobby Browning great satisfaction.

Browning is a lead mechanic for the Maintenance Division of Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) , at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He said he has been working for the airline for more than 12 years.

ASA is a regional airline, founded in 1978, according to its web site, www.flyasa.com.

The 39-year-old Browning said that when he arrives at ASA's A-Tech hangar, he is informed of the maintenance work needed to be done on an aircraft, through a summary written by the lead of the previous shift.

"We then prioritize and assign the work to our mechanics for completion," he added.

According to Browning, he oversees up to six mechanics from day-to-day, at the 106,845-square-foot hangar. His main mission is to ensure that his crew has the tools needed to safely and efficiently perform their maintenance duties.

"We [lead mechanics] research parts and maintenance manual references, print documents and retrieve parts and equipment so the mechanics can remain on the aircraft working," he explained.

Browning said he also communicates with his superiors about the status of the aircraft he is overseeing, the progression of the maintenance work, the parts that are needed and the estimated time left for work completion.

Crews work on various ASA aircraft, including the Bombardier CRJ200, CRJ700 and CRJ900, he said. Supervisors decide which aircraft the leads will be in charge of overseeing, and maintenance work begins from there on, Browning added.

"Although my duties remain constant, the aircraft and problems addressed vary from day to day," Browning said. "It is rare that we perform the same tasks two days in a row."

Browning said a large part of his job deals with documentation and paperwork. Though his job requires him to oversee his crew, Browning said he performs hands-on mechanic work on aircraft every day.

"Time is the most limited resource there is," said Browning. "Managing time, materials and [personnel] is a constant challenge. Everything we do is based upon time. The aircraft needs to fly to generate revenue and every minute in maintenance is lost revenue for the company."

He said he works alongside three to six lead mechanics per day, and reports to the maintenance supervisor on duty.

Browning said he began his career in the Maintenance Division of ASA on March 27, 1998, and moved up to lead mechanic in October 2000.

Chuck Halligan, an airframe and power plant licenses (A&P) mechanic for ASA, said he has been working with Browning for 10 years.

Halligan said working with Browning does not feel like a job.

"He is easy to work for ... and a good lead," said Halligan. "He is just a good friend."

Browning said he was born in Marietta, in 1971, and raised there.

Aviation runs in the family, according to Browning, whose father built aircraft at Lockheed Martin, in Marietta, and retired from the company in 2005.

While growing up, Browning said he fixed things around the house with his father.

"From there, my fascination with all things mechanical grew into wanting to learn and make my career with some of the most sophisticated and impressive machines on earth," he said.

Browning said he graduated from South Cobb High School, in Austell, in 1989.

From there, Browning said he ventured to a couple of universities, though he was undecided about a career choice.

He said he attended Jacksonville State University, in Jacksonville, Ala., from 1990 to 1991, and moved on to attend a semester at Kennesaw State University, in Kennesaw.

Browning said he enrolled in Dalfort Aircraft Tech., where he received his airframe and power plant licenses, as well as an FCC (Federal Communications Commission) license, and graduated in 1994.

Browning said he currently resides in McDonough, and is a proud first-time father.

He said that he and his wife recently welcomed a baby boy, Brody Jacob Browning.