Chris Dunand: Aviation Engineer, Flightline Aviation
Chris Dunand is an Apprentice Aircraft Engineer employed by Flightline Aviation at Ardmore Airport in Auckland. Chris trained as a Modern Apprentice and completed a National Certificate in Aeronautical Engineering (Level 4). Aircraft engineering apprenticeships usually take between three to five years to complete.
What made you interested in a career in aircraft engineering?
I have always been interested by anything that moves. I love engines, especially aircraft engines. Also, my uncle is an aircraft engineer with over 30 years experience and has worked all over the world. I find the job really interesting. It is also a job that can take me overseas or to remote parts of New Zealand.
What did you do to prepare for a career as an aircraft engineer?
At school I studied physics, mathematics and English. Good results in these subjects were part of the prerequisite requirements to be accepted on to the courses I needed. Pre-employment courses are offered by Air New Zealand and Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT).
I did the course through Air New Zealand which lasts for almost a year. There is both theory and practical in this course. I choose the Air New Zealand course because it is based in Auckland. Passing this course really helped get my job with Flightline Aviation.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really like getting in equipment that is non-operational. Being able to overhaul and repair it, and get it back into the aircraft, then seeing that plane back in the sky is really rewarding. We get a large variety of aircraft through this workshop. I get to work on aerobatics, trainers and even twin engine aircraft.
What is one of the challenges of working in the aviation sector?
The aviation industry is a time-critical environment. Customers want their aircraft in the air, not in a workshop, so we are always under pressure to get planes operational as quickly as possible.
Where do you see yourself in ten years time?
I will have completed my apprenticeship. If you have the initiative and the qualifications then you can go anywhere in the world with this job. I would like to work in a remote part of Canada where the conditions are challenging and I get to work on all sorts of interesting aircraft.
What advice would you give to young people thinking of a career in aviation engineering?
Do one of the pre-employment courses. It helps you make sure that this is the right career for you and you get to learn about the different systems that you will work with. It gives you access to lots of other information about aviation before you take on the actual job.