Note: I’ve removed the photos from this post for privacy purposes.
Many people still don’t really have an exact idea of what I’m doing. I’m not a pilot, I’m not actually working full time or studying full time. I’ve tried to explain it many many times but it’s quite confusing actually because it’s not like any other courses out there. I’m not in Uni or college. So today, I’m going to try explain everything. Here we go.
I got this almost 1 year ago. Offer letter from MAS.
Anyways, I got my offer letter on that fateful day when I was about to enrol to Inti for the thrid semester for my Diploma in Electrical and Electronics course. Read blog entry. I will become a Licensed Aircraft Engineer (LAE) if I finish this training. This is not like a Uni course where we take modules, exams and then we graduate. It’s much more complicated than that. I will try to explain it clearly. So let’s start with where I work/study/train.
I work at MAS complex A. It’s opposite Terminal 3.
If you have been travelling by plane many years ago to KL, you would have ended up at Subang’s Terminal 3 airport instead of today’s KLIA. Our engineering department and maintenance hangars are actually located opposite that Terminal 3 airport. We have 3 hangars at complex A and 1 at complex B. I spend most of my time here. I will be at the hangars DURING my on-job-training (OJT). But when I’m taking courses, I will be at the training school, located on the upper floor of the hangars. That means the training school is above the hangars.
This is around 1k pages.
The training school comes out with the course schedule. Our programme is very unique, since we have to attend both courses (30%) and OJT (70%). So during the time of our programme, which is 5 years, we will be alternating between taking courses and doing OJT.
Air legislation. One of the hardest course to take. I got around 100% and 99% for objective and essay.
When taking courses, we have to wear formal and classes starts from 8:30am till 4:30pm, with breaks in between. The text we use cannot be found elsewhere because it’s published by our own engineering training department. And we don’t learn things like history, literature, french or social studies. We go right into basic gas turbines, physics, maths, materials and hardware and only stuff that we NEED when we become engineers.
Posing on the job
When we are doing OJT, we go down to the hangar and learn the trade. We will be assigned to one engineer and then he will teach us things by letting us work on the aircraft. Mechanics and technicians will be there also to do the work. Their job does not include teaching us, but if you’re nice to them, they can impart a lot of knowlegde to you because of their experience.
Hangar 3, Line 9, Airbus A330
We work at our assigned lines at the hangars. Currently, I am assigned to line 8.5, working on a 737-400. I am working on zone 300, which is the left wing. During OJT, you can help out the engineer if you want to. But if you’re uncertain of some things, it is best to ask. It’s better to not know, than do the wrong thing. But people there are very nice, so once you get to know them, they’ll teach you a lot.
This is what I see if I look out of the hangars.
The hours during OJT is long. Most of the time now I do overtime just to help the aircraft meet its scheduled departure date. I do get extra pay for the overtime I do. Usually I come back around 8, sometimes 10, and once 7 in the morning. I’m usually very tired after each day. But after this aircraft leaves, I think I’ll get some well deserved rest. Christmas here I come! =D
I might be working in one of the airports near you soon!
Okay, looking at the big picture, I will basically become a LAE in 5 years. During the course of that 5 years, I will do OJT, take courses, take exams and also the company QA oral. I’ve already explained courses and OJT. Now exams.
Our batch is the first batch to follow EASA. Come to think about it, my year has been the “guinea pig” for a lot of things. First it’s PTS, then it’s literature, then it’s EST (correct me if I’m wrong). Unfortunately, our DCA (department for civil aviation) is still following BCAR (British civil aviation regulation) so we cannot take our exams here at DCA. What we can do is, we can take our exams (13 modules) at UK and then convert our license to Malaysian license. In order to take all the 13 modules, we have to go 3 times, because it’s impossible to take all 13 modules at one go.
After we finish our exams, we will come back with the license, but we need to go through the company QA oral first. They will ask us on company procedures, standard practices and everything under the sun. So basically we need to be very familiar with aviation stuff and our planes. There are a few references that we can use. It’s called the CAAIP (civil aviation authority inspection procedures) and it’s around 12k pages thick, 6 volumes altogether.
So for now, I’ll be learning the trade secrets as much as I can. I’ll be doing all the hard work and tough job to learn the systems by heart. It’s a tough job, but I’m enjoying it. It’s not a glamorous job. We’re not like pilots whom people look up to. If they managed to land a plane safely in a dangerous situation, they get the credit. But we don’t get anything, not even a word of thanks everytime a plane takes off, fly safely to its destination and land. Because everytime you survive a flight, you know that the engineers at the hangars and at the line are doing their job well.
I think I’ve covered almost everything. If you have any other questions related to my course/job/training or whatever you want to call it, let me know Continue reading