Aircraft maintenance engineer (AME) scholarship recipient Luke Dufficy has some sage advice for anyone contemplating a career in aircraft engineering.
‘Just have a go. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.’
Luke, who works for Marker Aviation Services in Mt Isa, Queensland, is one of 5 CASA 2022 AME scholarship recipients. The scholarship provides $5,000 financial support to encourage and assist promising AMEs in their training and help them achieve a Part 66 CASR licence.
They’re also a part of our broader approach to promoting aircraft maintenance engineering as a viable career option for those interested in becoming an AME.
With more than 100 applicants, the quality of this year’s applicants exceeded all expectations.
Luke has always had a passion for working with his hands. ‘But I never even knew aviation was an industry you could work in until I went to aviation high school,’ he says.
‘Once I dipped my toes into the industry I was hooked. It’s a truly a unique industry and most people outside of it don’t really understand it. There’s such a variety of work and the opportunities are endless – whether it be in electrical, avionics, mechanical or structural repairs.’
Luke found it tough going initially to break into the industry. He spent about 18 months sending his resume to various companies, but he just wasn’t breaking down the doors as he originally hoped to.
‘But I persisted, and eventually it paid off,’ he says. ‘And I wouldn’t change any of my choices for the world.
‘Every day in the industry is so different. You just never know what’s going to come through the hangar doors – some days it’s only regular servicing, other days it’s component replacements or it could be troubleshooting.
‘The most challenging aspect of the job is probably the coordination of an aircraft check. Being located remotely forces us to be extremely organised due to parts requiring 3 to 5 days freight time to get to us.
‘You also don’t want to get to the last day of the scheduled service and realise you don’t have a part, because the aircraft remains grounded until you get it. Explaining to the customer why their aircraft hasn’t had their maintenance completed is always a tricky one.’
Luke believes aspiring AMEs should have a solid understanding of physics, with the ability to visualise systems a bonus. But the most important thing, he says, is the motivation to learn.
‘You can’t know it all, but knowledge is king,’ he says. ‘And being able to visualise a system and understand what is happening to isolate a fault and rectify it is an extremely valuable skill to have.’
The $5,000 financial support from the AME scholarship allows Luke to fast track some of his courses and complete his B1.1 licence in a shorter timeframe.
‘Currently I want to finish my diploma which will allow me to apply for my B1.2 aircraft engineer’s licence,’ he says.
‘My future goal is to gain my PT6A type rating, possibly even a 300 series King Air rating, a C licence, and potentially gain my B2 licence as well.’