At GOOSE Recruitment, we love to speak to aviation professionals from across the globe about their aviation career. We recently caught up with Ruan Albertyn, a B2/B1 Licensed Aircraft Engineer to hear about his experience working in aviation.
How long have you been working in the aviation industry?
My journey in aviation started over 25 years ago in 1996, but it fully kicked off when I moved to England in 2003 from South Africa. At the time maintenance engineering licensing had just changed and I was unable to convert my South African CAA license to a BCAR license. Ultimately, I had to start my career from scratch and pass the JAR/EASA Part 66 modules and work for the required five years before I could apply for an aircraft engineer's licence.
Where did you take your qualifications?
My first apprenticeship was with Denel Aviation in South Africa, where I completed an eight-month Avionics Trade theory course. Then I continued my apprenticeship at a General Aviation maintenance company at Lanseria Airport, where I continued to study and gain more qualifications. When I moved to England, I self-studied the JAR (now EASA) Part 66 modules to become B2 licensed with types and later added the B1 licence and a type-ratings to my qualifications.
The majority of my EASA aircraft types and practical experience were gained at Flybe in Exeter, where my colleagues and friends played a massive part in helping me achieve my goals.
Has your aviation career been what you expected it to be?
If I am honest, I am not sure what I expected. I went into aviation with an open mind and my apprenticeships opened up a lot of doors for me. Early on in my career, opportunities would be passed onto me by colleagues, rather than me actively looking for them. I used to be driven by saving for my next holiday but now later on in my career I am driven by the excitement of where aircraft maintenance might take me. This is a job that can take you all over the world and provide fantastic opportunities.
What does a typical working day look like for you?
The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the flight schedules of many airlines but at Aurigny, the airline I work for, we have an MRO maintenance base, alongside Line Maintenance authorisation, which facilitates a multi-skilled and flexible workforce. Meaning that we can perform heavy maintenance during this quiet time. Pre-pandemic it would be extremely busy in line maintenance operations due to the high rotation of aircraft in the flight schedule.
You were recently placed into a role by GOOSE Recruitment, with Aurigny Air Services. Can you tell us what your role covers?
In Line Maintenance, our role is to ensure that the flight schedule remains on time and therefore the team must be able to respond to any aircraft maintenance requirement during and after a flying day. After a day's flight schedule, we see to the scheduled and unscheduled light maintenance including defect rectification, which is necessary to keep the aircraft serviceable for the next day's flying.
What encouraged you to apply for the role?
The GOOSE Recruitment team reached out to me directly through LinkedIn and the Consultant managing the role did a fantastic job at representing me to the client. He made a huge effort to spend time going through my interview presentation and gave me some great interview tips.
The opportunity was incredibly attractive and provided the chance for me to join a great airline, whilst being located on the beautiful Channel Islands coastlines. A great place to be for our campervan holidays with Otto, our Dachshund.
What is your favourite aircraft to work with and why?
Previously the Embraer ERJ145 and now the Embraer E170/190, mostly because of the logic in the way the aircraft systems are designed but I enjoy learning the ins and outs of new aircraft types and new technologies. I am looking forward to seeing the ATR's Enhanced Vision System (Clear Vision) in action.
What aircraft would you love to work with in the future?
The Embraer 190E2 and their bizjets, especially the Phenom with its new Garmin Prodigy Touch avionics suite. I am quite interested in hybrid electric aircraft technologies, particularly figuring out how this modified propulsion system can be practically designed into the complexities of a commercial aircraft.
How has the role of an aircraft engineer changed over the years and what have you done to ensure that you stay relevant?
What used to be a labour-intensive role, now relies heavily on documentation and compliance. Aircraft are continuously evolving from analogue and mechanical to digital and electrical interfaces, which has changed an engineer’s method of maintenance and fault investigation.
Keeping current and up to date is a crucial part of the MRO culture and as engineers are always keen to share their new experiences, it's never been much hassle keeping abreast of technology and procedures.
Has the pandemic required you to adopt any new skills in your role? If so, what are they?
It has pushed me to be flexible and keep an open mind in what my role may involve. The current aviation climate is tough, and you need to be agile for any changes that may come your way.
If you could change one thing about the aviation industry, what would it be?
I would like to see a worldwide aviation authority, where all personnel are qualified to the same standard, allowing them to work in their profession in any country.
What would your number one tip be when applying and interviewing for aviation engineering roles?
In my experience recruiters and head-hunters have always had the best advice and guidance and are a great help during the application process. I have found that transparency goes a long way when applying for a job, and so does keeping your smile on in an interview. As long as you are smiling and transparent it is much easier to present yourself confidently when elaborating on a question in an interview.