The day in the life of an aircraft bearings inspector
We spoke to Jade Minty about her role as an aircraft engineer at GE Aviation Wales.
Tell us about what you do?
I’m an aircraft engineer at GE Aviation Wales responsible for the overhaul – cleaning, inspection and kitting – of commercial aircraft engine bearings. It is my job to ensure that the components comply with manual components and make decisions about whether they are serviceable and ready to go back onto the engine, require additional repair or are scrapped and replaced with new.
How did you get into your role?
I carried out work experience at the facility prior to attending university to initially study an engineering degree in 2010 and really enjoyed the atmosphere and the support and experience that the people working here offered me. After a few months of study, I decided that I preferred the hands on approach to learning and the offer of valuable experience that an apprenticeship provided and applied and gained a place for the 3 year engineering apprenticeship at GE in 2011.
Part of the apprenticeship involved workplace rotations as part of the learning experience which is where I discovered the bearing room. The task variety and involvement with so many other teams piqued my interest and I successfully gained a position with the team at the end of my apprenticeship in 2014 and qualified as an authorised engineer in 2015 and have been here ever since!
What made you want to enter the world of aviation?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t just accidently stumble into aviation as a field, purely because the GE facility is just down the road from where I live! In retrospect, it’s a fascinating field to work in when you consider the technology that’s involved to make powering an aircraft even a possibility on a daily basis. It’s great to be part of the evolution of technology that constantly strives to make engines more efficient.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Depending on the workload, I spend some days cleaning engine bearings ready for inspection, others I spend inspecting components for compliance with the engine manual which dictates whether conditions are serviceable, require repair or need to be replaced. We overhaul bearings for four different engine types spanning GE’s global customer base so the work varies from customer to customer and from engine to engine. No two bearings are ever the same!
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
It’s great to feel that you’re an important part of a bigger picture. What I enjoy most about it is watching aircraft in the sky and wondering whether its components have ever passed through my hands while also being privy to the immense amount of people and work that it takes to over haulan engine, let alone the rest of the aircraft. It’s definitely a grounding thought! (Pun intended)
How would you encourage more women to pursue a career in engineering?
I think what’s most important is to ensure that information about the expansive field of engineering continues to be shared from a young age, not just to females but to young males as well.
There still seems a misunderstanding as to what engineering actually is and what it involves. Even engineers within our facility, while all in the aviation field, still all have different roles.
My best advice is to just go try it out and speak to as many people who work in engineering on a daily basis as you can so you can find out what they do. Eventually you’ll find someone who sparks your interest which will at least help narrow down which field brings you the most intrigue and one which will hopefully offer the most rewarding career path for you.