Model Airplanes to Military Grade

Project Description

Anthony “Tony” Pinkovsky, MSgt/WS9

Pittsburgh Campus, PA
Program: Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT)
Employment: United States Air Force, Retired C-17 Aircraft Supervisor

“I always had an interest in airplanes,” says retired Air Force Master Sergeant Anthony “Tony” Pinkovsky. “As a kid, I remember trying to fly the Cox model airplanes. I can still feel the pain in my fingers from trying to start those small engines.”

As a teenager, Pinkovsky’s mechanical skills improved out of necessity, since his minibikes always needed some kind of repair. In 9th grade, he chose to merge his interests in planes and machine repair by attending PIA. “Back then,” Pinkovsky says, “PIA offered students in 11th and 12th grade the opportunity to get their powerplant license. So in 1980, I started my own journey toward earning one.”

Pinkovsky fondly remembers his days spent learning at PIA, and the ample motivation that his teachers provided. “I remember when our instructor, Mr. Adams, would come into the classroom and hold up his A&P licenses and say, ‘Boys, these are your meal tickets,’” recalls Pinkovsky.

Many of Pinkovsky’s PIA instructors had military backgrounds, and the stories they shared about their experiences in the armed services sparked his interest in exploring a military career. After graduating from PIA in 1981, Pinkovsky entered the United States Air Force as a jet engine mechanic.

“I worked in a facility at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, FL, where I would tear-down and build-up jet engines as needed for Uncle Sam,” recalls Pinkovsky. “During my enlistment, I heard about the Air Reserve Technician (ART) program. In that role, you’re a full-time federal employee with a reserve commitment. In 1985, I was hired as an ART at Kelly Air Force Base (which is now Kelly Field) in San Antonio. Over the years and several transfers, I worked my way up from a Technician to a First Line Supervisor on aircraft including C-5s and C-17s.”

Pinkovsky’s last duty station was Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH, where he supervised eight civilians and 30 reservists. He retired October 12, 2018, with 37 years of federal service.

“The job was challenging and rewarding,” says Pinkovsky. “But as I look back on my career, I can say that one of the best times in my life was there at PIA.”