What's your job about?
Airbus in Australia Pacific is a global leader in aeronautics, space and defence industry. Airbus is involved in assembling and supporting defence helicopters as well as supporting civil rotary aircraft. It also provides services to the RAAF in maintaining the P3 Orion and C-130J Hercules.
I currently work with the Aircraft Structural Integrity (ASI) team at Airbus, monitoring the structural integrity of the aircraft by assessing maintenance and usage data for the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) Tiger and Multi-Role Helicopter (MRH90) Taipan. The role of the ASI team is to ensure certification requirements for airworthiness, structural strength and fatigue management are met. Furthermore, trends in data are also assessed to reduce lifetime support costs that might occur due to environmental degradation issues such as corrosion.
Many of my daily tasks involve assessing damage and defect reports to identify structural deterioration for fatigue management. Additionally, usage (flight operation) data from each aircraft is also collated and compared against the Design Usage Spectrum to identify exceedances and its impact on certain aircraft components. These results are then used in developing monthly and annual reports that outline common damage occurrences along with recommendations for maintenance and design change which will improve component life and ensure structural integrity is maintained.
What's your background?
I completed my primary schooling in India before migrating to Australia. After concluding my secondary education in Adelaide, I attended The University of Adelaide for my Bachelors in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
During my childhood and adolescence, I was very intrigued and fascinated in the aviation industry and thus, aspiring myself to become a fighter pilot. However, as I grew older, my interests shifted towards aerospace engineering. I took up extracurricular activities such as attending air shows, aviation conferences and volunteering with the Australian Air Force Cadets just to satisfy my appetite for all things aviation.
My first engineering experience was through my internship at a civil aviation company which involved the design and manufacture of aircraft components. I particularly enjoyed this role as I got to experience the hands-on working environment as well as the technical engineering involved in the aviation industry. After completing my tertiary studies, I took up my first role as a Project Engineer with an industrial refrigeration company for 6 months. I continued with this position before moving to Airbus as a Graduate engineer 6 months ago.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Most engineers with a Mechanical, Aerospace or Mechanical Structures background would be able to undertake my role with some understanding. Critical thinking, problem-solving and having an open-minded approach to problems will certainly help build on the technical knowledge in a work environment. Skills such as being proficient at Excel, VBA and Python as well as, other commonly used engineering tools are also highly regarded.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
Being able to work alongside some of the leading aircraft in the industry has to be the coolest part of my job. It is a very niche industry and I am proud to be a part of it. On a day to day basis, the open-ended problems that I get to address and being able to pitch my solution/ideas to a variety of experienced professionals are unique and satisfying. It is not often that a young engineer is able to contribute with this much significance in a highly regulated industry.
What are the limitations of your job?
As a Graduate Engineer at Airbus, the limitations vary from what particular team you might be working under. However, as this role generally has candidates with minimum or no engineering experience, all tasks that are performed undergo a review and approval process. Though, experience and knowledge would be highly beneficial in attempingt an engineering task effectively. However, Airbus has an approachable work environment and an extensive training program which helps resolve these limitations.
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