Home / Celebrating Lead Actors We Rarely See or Hear From — at the Heart of Aviation

Celebrating Lead Actors We Rarely See or Hear From — at the Heart of Aviation

Global, Maintenance, Staffing

To mark the occasion of Aircraft Maintenance Technician’s Day and honor the talented aircraft maintenance technicians across Jet Aviation, we spoke to Jason Ang, Aircraft Maintenance Technician, Singapore, Karl Manzon, Rotary Avionics Technician, Fujairah, Nicholas Braun, Defence Aircraft Maintenance Technician, East Sale, and Ottilia Swenzon, Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Technician – Level I, Basel, to ask them about the good work they do collectively. 

From fixed wing to rotary, business aviation to defence, our aircraft maintenance technicians are hard at work behind the scenes to keep our customers safe. Thank you for all that you do.

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Read on to hear some of our favorite excerpts from the conversation.

On Motivation

Karl: When I was a kid, I loved dismantling things and the success of putting them back together. I think it was that joy that gave me the drive to pursue this career.

Ottilia: My grandfather was a pilot, I suppose, but it was really a TV commercial for a local school about being an aircraft mechanic that got my attention. I had no idea what I wanted to do, but that commercial made it look like such fun.

Nicholas: I've always enjoyed looking at aircraft and learning about them. While working on getting my pilot's license a while back when I was between jobs at a small regional airport, I volunteered at a small family-owned aircraft maintenance business to gain experience. I really enjoyed it. The owner saw that I picked up skills pretty quickly and was happy with my performance, so he offered me an apprenticeship, which started my career as an AMT. 

Jason: My dad once took me to visit the Singapore Airshow and that inspired me to become a pilot. I studied aircraft engineering and applied to be a pilot but wasn't selected as a cadet pilot. I was still determined to be a part of the aviation industry though, so I applied to be an AMT and am working my way towards being a licensed engineer.  

“I’ve always enjoyed looking at aircraft and learning about them. While working on getting my pilot’s license, I volunteered at a small family-owned aircraft maintenance business to gain experience. I really enjoyed it and the owner offered me an apprenticeship. That was the start of my career as an AMT.”

On Variety

Nicholas: I think the biggest difference in Defence is that the focus is operational. On the commercial MRO side there’s a very heavy emphasis on each aircraft being an individual customer’s aircraft, making sure that each and every aircraft is presented to the highest of standards in luxury. In Defence MRO, there’s a much heavier emphasis on operational capability, ensuring the aircraft can carry out particular sorties or missions. 

Jason: I see what you mean. We work with different configurations and elements – chairs, sofas, galleys, and avionics equipment as opposed to surveillance, radars, and cameras, which I understand the Defence team works with. 

Ottilia: I'm working primarily on Gulfstream, and it can be something different every day. I can be sitting in an engine one day and in a fuel tank the next or be troubleshooting switches or landing gear that doesn't want to go up. 

Karl: We’re installing Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR) on a fleet of Bell 407 helicopters right now. We're currently working on the seventh aircraft installation, with at least double that to go, so that's a lot of wiring! I guess a big difference here in Fujairah, compared to somewhere like Basel, is that we’re near the sea and the desert, so we get a lot more corrosion, which builds up fast in this environment. 

On Demands & Challenges

Ottilia: It can be heavy or physically demanding work at times. Sometimes you're not really in a comfortable position, depending on what you're doing. If you're lying in the fuel tank, for example, it's a confined space, which also gets really warm. Or if you're doing an inspection, you need to take breaks, or you’ll get too tired and possibly miss something. 

Karl: I prefer working on helicopters doing avionics (B2) rather than mechanical (B1). I like the need for critical thinking in avionics, and that it also requires you to have good hand skills, especially for installations.

 

“All that blood, sweat and tears we put in to rectifying an aircraft and releasing it back into service, makes everything worth it.”

On Rewards

Nicholas: Once you resolve a defect by working through multiple points of failure and finding out what was causing the issue, I find that to be really rewarding. After years and years, you build up a bank of knowledge of situations you’ve encountered before and this can assist in troubleshooting future defects.

Jason: Yes, all that blood, sweat and tears we put in to rectifying an aircraft and releasing it back into service – that makes everything worth it.

On Aspiring AMTs

Nicholas: Study hard, put that extra bit of effort into reading manuals and gaining as much knowledge as possible about aircraft you work on, because it will be really helpful one day. Put yourself in a situation where you can gain as much experience as you can from different people.

Jason: Read up on relevant subjects, clear the exams and papers as early as you can, and don’t give up. Learn as much as you can from the experienced guys.

Karl: I spent  years working on fixed wing aircraft in the Philippines, and then transitioned to rotary wing aircraft in Fujairah, UAE. I’m currently in the process of getting my EASA and GCAA B1 and B2 license. I won't say it's an easy path, but I’m definitely enjoying the ride which makes it a lot easier. It takes time to get familiarized with the different aircraft types. You have to read a lot and enjoy learning to make the most of it – which in the end is very rewarding. ?????

Ottilia: Give it a try! You learn a lot, it’s super practical – and it’s fun!

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