Michael Keogh tells Smart Futures about working as a Ryanair aircraft engineer.
Describe your typical day?
I am a B2 avionics maintenance engineer so I work on electrical, instruments and radio systems. B1 engineers work on airframe and engine systems. We work 12-hour days, working two days then two nights, followed by four days off.
On a typical day, I carry out a technical status review of our operating aircraft, plan for scheduled maintenance and provide technical support for our operating aircraft in Dublin and abroad. On nights, we carry out routine and scheduled maintenance.
What’s cool about your job?
Every day is different; there are always new challenges. I get great job satisfaction when I have to recover an aircraft with a technical issue that prevents it from flying, especially when abroad.
To recover an aircraft, we have to find the cause, repair or remove and install a component, followed by a complete test of the affected system.
What are the main challenges?
Working in a high-pressure environment and maintaining our aircraft in a safe, efficient and cost-effective manner. I must keep up to date with my Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) licence, company approval and recurrent training.
Another challenge is learning about new aircraft and systems in a constantly changing industry.
How do you get an IAA licence?
After completing an apprenticeship and on-the-job training, you can apply to do IAA exams. Once completed, the IAA issues a licence.
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
Engineering and science subjects are extremely important as they help you to understand aircraft systems such as aerodynamics, pneumatic, hydraulics, jet propulsion, radio theory, electrical theory and instrumentation.
What subjects did you take in school?
I took maths, English, Irish, engineering, technical drawing, physics and French. The science and engineering subjects were essential during my apprenticeship and I use them every day in work.
What did you do after school?
I did an apprenticeship in aeronautical engineering with Ryanair in conjunction with FÁS in Shannon and Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). During my apprenticeship I did night classes in radio, instruments and electrical theory.
What inspired your interest in engineering?
Having a curious mind; I always loved the practical side of technical drawing, metalwork and physics.
If you wish to pursue a career in aviation engineering, you may find the following links useful:
• Ryanair – Engineering recruitment
• IAA – How to become a maintenance engineer
• DIT – Aircraft mechanic apprenticeship
• Education and training boards (SOLAS/FÁS recommends contacting these for more information on apprentices)