I work for BAE Systems at RAF Valley on Anglesey, North Wales, collating and analysing the Health and Usage Data from each flight carried out by the Hawk TMk2 Aircraft.
The Health and Usage Data consists of data from the crash recorder, various strain gauges and engine monitoring data. This data is used to track the fatigue life of the airframe and the engine.
My favourite subjects in school were maths and science and I always used to help my dad, who is an electrician, when I was younger, so a career in engineering always seemed to be on the cards. I went to Bangor University to study Electrical Engineering with the hope of working in the power industry. However, jobs in this industry were in short supply so I took a job at RAF Valley as a Flight Line Mechanic on the TMk1 Hawk.
This started my journey into aircraft engineering. My time on the flight line was brilliant and gave me a good education into how the aircraft as a whole operates, as well as the way an RAF Squadren is run. Because of my degree qualifications I was enrolled on the aircraft electrician training course and soon after that an opportunity arose to work in the electrical test bay. During this time I carried out more in-depth testing and repair on the electrical components that are fitted to the TMk1 and became involved in accident data (Black Box) analysis. This was my introduction to trace reading and flight analysis.
When the Hawk TMk2 came into service at Valley, I applied for the Health and Usage Monitoring (HUMS) Specialist job with BAE Systems, which was the next logical step in my career path and I started working with the company in 2010. It was quite challenging to start with which is normal when bringing a new aircraft into service. The issues were tackled head-on and now the HUMS processes at Valley have been used as best practise on other hawk contracts throughout the world.
I really enjoy my job, reading the traces and visualising the flight from a screen full of “wiggly Lines” is not what I ever imagined doing but I wouldn’t change it now. In the future I hope to continue to develop the HUMS processes and the aircraft fault finding capabilities on the TMk2 at Valley. Anglesey is such a beautiful place to live and work and in my workplace I have a sea view out of one window and a view of the Snowdonia mountains out of the other. Who could ask for anything more.