Lighting the fire – An Instructors Account
After the standard security sign in, the Mechanical class of 2017 proceeded through the gates leading onto the RAMP at Cairns International airport.
Our host Darren Tabone and his daughter Taylor (Current student with Aviation Australia) were
waiting to greet us.
As we headed out to the hardstand Darren was briefing us on the events planned for our visit to Jetstar. Our anticipation grew as he spoke and the excitement increased as we drew close to the (pride of Boeing) 787 Dreamliner.
As the aircraft delivered its staggering dimension before us, the enormous general electric engine also came into sight. The engine on the right wing had been totally exposed due to its giant fairings being raised for access to the core.
The engineer Richard, from Jetstar, was already engaged in rectifications to the engines fuel system. The aircraft was in need of an engineering order from Boeing to repair the issue and then a subsequent ground run for verification of the fix.
All the students and I were invited into the aircraft then Richard lit up the axillary power unit and explained in detail the workings of the astonishing aircraft.
Once all the systems were up and running the students were further treated to the world of installed engine ground running. As the students cycled through the cockpit they were given a tour of the on-board diagnostic systems and introduced to the latest multi-function displays and engine monitoring screens.
As if this was not enough for one visit, we then witnessed the operation of all flight control systems and functional test of the thrust reverse’s, operation of all external cowls, doors and bays.
All this was then repeated for the Airbus A320 and included a full undercarriage tour and a flap / slat functional test.
Last but not least Darren took all the students through the auxiliary power unit engine bay and all of its workings whilst in an elevated work stand. After this visit and upon our return to the classroom I overheard one of the students describe the visit as “an Honour”. The rest of the class were engaged in discussion over what they enjoyed the most.
As an instructor I think this day put the fire back into my class and it will forever be a day that they remember for a very long time. I have been in the industry over 30 years with many years on flight line and I have to say what an awesome day it was.
I cannot thank Jetstar and the LAME’s Darren and Richard enough. Taylor and her dad have bought a new dimension to what we call a trade visit.
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