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Andrew Smith

Aircraft Maintenance Engineer


Thousands of different components and hundreds of tonnes of metal require the detailed attention of Andrew Smith and his fellow aircraft engineers.

Aircraft engineering is all about precision and Andrew enjoys the challenges it poses. "Firstly you strip a plane and then perform inspections looking for corrosion, cracks and other irregularities. Then any defaults get fixed. The plane could be in for a few days or for over a week, but no matter how long you have got, you need to have given it 100 percent."

Andrew has no problems completing inspection work, but it is the pressure of diagnosing and repairing a plane waiting in between flights that gives him real satisfaction. "The troubleshooting side of things and working with live aircraft is great. It could be working on the tarmac or the plane may need to come into the hangar. The plane may only be in for an hour or two, but you have to finish and get it back out to service."

Engineering requires practicality and Andrew says he has always had that as well as a strong interest in aviation. "My Dad is a mechanic and I've liked aircraft since I was young. Originally I wanted to join the air force and I wouldn't have minded flying jets, but engineering is a good hands-on career."

Unlike a number of aircraft engineers, Andrew didn't take the air force training route. Instead he took the advice of a friend already doing the job, tailored his subjects at school and enrolled in a pre-employment aeronautical engineering course. "After completing the course I had to apply for a traineeship position."

Now in a full-time position Andrew is looking to progress his aircraft engineering career. "The next step is to get my licence. There are roughly 12 or 13 exams, so I will allow myself a couple of years to complete it. A licence means you can earn more money and take on more responsibility."