What did you study?

2005-09: Graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Engineering (Aeronautical) Honours/Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Finance)

2010-present: Graduate Aerospace Engineer at BAE Systems Australia working as HAWK Lead-In-Fighter Through Life Support Engineer and Seahawk Structural Engineer

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Current position description? 

As a member of the structural engineering team I am accountable for conducting technical information reviews and developing detailed structural designs to meet project requirements in accordance with design standards and directives. I’m also tasked with providing production support in order to deliver aircraft within servicing schedule.

Most interesting project? 

Over time and due to the Australian environment, corrosion damage significantly degrades the structural integrity of the RAAF fleet. The most interesting project I’ve worked on is the Corrosion Prognostic and Health Management (CPHM) project for the HAWK Lead-in-Fighter aircraft. This project involved designing and installing an on-aircraft and ground based environment monitoring system to track and compare the macro and micro environmental factors the aircraft experiences. This data is then used to schedule proactive maintenance to ensure aircraft structural integrity. The results of this project now have application to other platforms worldwide.

Job’s best aspects? 

1. The best thing about working in defence engineering is the opportunity to work with state of the art fighter aircraft and helicopters

2. Given the responsibility of ensuring the airworthiness of defence aircraft. It is amazing to know that your design is incorporated in an aircraft that will encounter operational environments.

3. Given that no single engineering problem is the same as another, every day at work is a new challenge

What are your field’s major challenges?

I believe that there are two major challenges facing the defence aviation industry in the near future. The majority of defence aircraft are approaching their retirement age, which will result in the industry downsizing as aircraft are phased out of service. Simultaneously,

the world is moving towards Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and similar technologies. The challenge will be to manage the retirement of old aircraft whilst phasing in new technologies with advanced capabilities.

Most helpful advice given to you? 

When I first started working as a graduate engineer I was overly cautious not to take
a wrong step or make a mistake. The best piece of advice I have received was that “it is essential to have set-backs and failures”. Set- backs are indicators of learning and growth and it is important to demonstrate that you are capable of accepting failures and overcoming them successfully.