Aircraft Maintenance Engineer – Try it for 5

You have to move that in. Lights, camera, action. My name is Libby Lacolta and
I work for BAE Systems. And we do the deep level
maintenance on the Hawk Mk 127. When I was a kid, I used to build
quite a few model aeroplanes. My friends, for my thirteenth
birthday, they bought me a joy flight in a Cessna 152 and I’d
never been in an aircraft before. I’m not one for sitting in front of a
computer or even just sitting at a desk. I’m more like hands-on,
practical – pull things apart, put things together, build
them, construct them. This is aircraft wing, the main plane,
that’s been removed for inspections and we’re just preparing here now
to fit it back on to the aircraft. So you grab your toolbox to
start with and you tag it. They can give you heaps if you
lose it so at the end of the day, if there’s a tool missing,
everyone knows who to pick on. People find out which
aircraft it’s on, who’s been using it, so they can
ground aircraft for certain reasons just for a safety
issue because you want to make sure it’s 100%
safe before you fly. All right. Here we are. Everyone’s
in their positions ready to wheel the wing, make sure
everything’s off, out the way. This thing should be slightly
easier to line up than normal because we don’t
have the flaps attached. You can be there for almost the whole
day, moving the wing up and down, up and down, because something isn’t lining up properly
or the aircraft wing when you put it up you’ve got to try and put it up even because
if it’s just cocked off a little bit, it can that’s when something can catch
and it’s really close tolerance. Everyone’s set up?
Yep. All clear?
Yep. Up two?
Yep. All clear. Up three?
Yep. All clear. Altogether, down one.
All right. People all doing their own thing –
that’s when you start getting problems. Everyone had to listen to Robbo
who was saying, ‘up, down’. Everyone’s got to do it together
and make sure you work as a team. You’ve got to be able to test and troubleshoot
things, have that troubleshooting knowledge to be able to go through systems,
know how systems link into other systems. Something might be going wrong
but it might be because of a completely different system that
then feeds into that system. We’ve got the wing up and we’ve
got the bolts in, the six attachment bolts so I’m just
looking up now in the installation we have all these manuals you need to
follow – we just have to connect all the pipes together, put on electrical
connectors – yeah, basically, that’s it. Get my torque wrench. Absolutely everything
always is lock-wired. That’s this wire
that I’m doing now. I’ll do an example
of some of these. See all these connections here with wire on them?
That’s just locks … like a safety device, an
actual safety device. We’ve always got a
backup for a backup. So once you’ve done this, you then have
another two people come and check your work. It’s better to own up if
you’ve done something wrong – saves a lot of
people a lot of hassle. Everything is logged – every job. Every
problem that’s found, you write it down. Then people fix the job and
then they have to sign it off and then you’ve got different
people to sign off the tasks and depending on the …
like, I suppose, how critical the job is, you have
two or three signatures. So if it’s some really important
thing that could have … like vital impact on the flight, that’s
when you have more signatures. All right.
Just take a bag up now and put something on your face. At school, you do get spoonfed
a lot of things so you don’t actually get that chance
to use your initiative. So when I first came here, I didn’t actually
have that much initiative myself but the guys, they let you know and they let
you know how to use your initiative. Safety wise – if you see someone doing
something unsafe, you let them know because then, yeah, you just help each other out
that way – a bit of a buddy system. A lot of my friends have – they
all say: Aw, they’re coming to the end of their degrees as well and they’re like
– Aw, I might just do another degree
or I might just do another unit or something like that because
it’s too scary to go and work. But really, work is
actually a great life. Well, I’ve enjoyed it
anyway because you’ve got city hours and you don’t
have to go home and study. You can go home and just
put your feet up. When I started, I thought, ‘Four years –
aw, that’s going to take forever but it’s gone so fast.’ I feel like I’ve only just
started my apprenticeship yesterday. But then I’ve learnt so
much while I’ve been here. You get a lot of job satisfaction, I think.
Like, when you’ve … if there’s a problem and you troubleshoot it and
then you can see once you’ve changed things, changed components and tested and
actually seen the result at the end, seen the aircraft fly and like, yeah,
you’ve fixed that and it’s flying now. Yeah, that’s really
awesome as well.

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