I always knew that I wanted to work in aircraft maintenance, and British Airways seemed to have it all. At the start, I remember being so excited because the building we are based in is right between the two runways at Heathrow with our aircraft constantly landing and departing!
My current role is all about continuing airworthiness management and technical support for avionics and systems on the Boeing 777 fleet. During the week I’ll review and make decisions on documents sent by Boeing, equipment manufacturers and/or regulators. These can highlight aircraft issues and propose recommendations. I’ll also investigate Air/Ground Safety Reports raised by Pilots and Engineers to do with aircraft systems/avionics-related incidents that may have caused operational disruption or have safety implications, and put in place actions to prevent reoccurrence. Monitoring reliability is always a priority, and I provide technical justification, cost analysis and work instructions for any proposed modifications to the aircraft fleet.
To give you an example of that, I recently wrote the business case to get the funding to be able to upgrade the avionic software on the whole 777 fleet, which when complete will bring a whole range of operational and safety benefits. I also compiled the task lists to work to and I continue to support the modification.
I liaise with the planning department to ensure that the right people carry out any tasks we may raise for troubleshooting, inspection or modification purposes. Our material and inventory management colleagues are close co-workers too, as they provide all the new parts and spares we need for any work we propose to carry out.
There will be various projects going on at any one time. I’m currently part of a small team working with the Flight Operations department to enable Electronic Flight Bags to be fitted and used on some of our 777 aircraft. I’m also setting up the engineering readiness plan for the introduction of the 787. The sheer amount of tasks and cross-departmental co-operation needed to prepare for a new aircraft type is both challenging and exciting!
Perhaps the best thing about the scheme is that you get to be involved with many different and specialist departments within Engineering, including aircraft repair design, engine management, cabin and interior design, operational support, quality and training, to name a few, and you experience hands-on maintenance and overhaul in a range of environments such as the hangars and T5. I’ve also been able to work towards gaining my aircraft maintenance licences through British Airways own in-house training school and working with licensed engineers. This has been important in developing my hands-on skills and knowledge of how the guys work in the hangar and operational environment.
The people here are a highlight too. A lot of them have been in the industry for years and are brilliant at what they do whether they’re in the office or out of it. Their skills and enthusiasm are very motivating for me, and they are more than happy to share their knowledge and experience with you.
British Airways has a large fleet of aircraft so there is always plenty on my plan for the week. There is also a whole range of exciting projects to get involved with, from getting ready for new aircraft to innovative trials of new components and systems. There’s always plenty of encouragement to try new things.