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This time, Eddah Waweru, aircraft mechanic working at Direct Maintenance station in Mombasa, shares her experience about working with us (and not only!). Eddah believes that no profession is gender-specific thus in aviation and all other industries both male and female can thrive and reach for their dreams. And that’s what she is doing – enjoying every moment of the path she has chosen, led by curiosity!
Why did you choose aviation as your career path?
Eddah Waweru: Curiosity! When I was in middle school, I attended a school that was located not too close to the airport, but you could see and hear aircraft flying over. That always raised so many questions for me: what makes it possible for that big thing to fly, from land to air and stay afloat with no support? Why the bird-like shape? What are they made of? How do people survive in it? I needed answers to satisfy my curiosity (and this curious cat is still alive) – and that is why aviation had to be the path for me.
How did you start working at Direct Maintenance?
EW: I started working at Direct Maintenance in Nairobi station as an intern in 2015. Due to the local authority regulations, you were allowed to work as an intern for a period of six months unless the company chooses to extend your pass. Fortunately for me, Direct Maintenance extended my pass for a few additional months after which I left the company to continue my studies.
However, I still kept in contact with the Direct Maintenance family as they contributed greatly to who I am today. And a while ago, the company had an opening and I was lucky to be invited back – this time around as an aircraft mechanic in Mombasa station. Now we are here, keeping safe and growing strong together.
What are the main responsibilities in your role?
EW: My role as an aircraft mechanic is to enhance safety in the aviation industry by maintaining standards of the highest level in aircraft maintenance and servicing. My key duties are to perform line maintenance tasks, that is transit/preflight checks for contracted airlines including daily and weekly checks that are within the limits of the tasks specified in the aircraft maintenance program and to ensure all tasks are done in compliance with company policies, CAA regulations and customer requirements. Line maintenance tasks entail scheduled unscheduled maintenance, routine aircraft structure, power plant and mechanical and electrical systems inspection checks to prove their serviceability, routine aircraft lubrication, replenishment of all system fluids (water/oil/gases) as well as refuelling. Also, it contains basic avionics fault diagnosis and replacement, removal and installation of various aircraft system components in accordance with the applicable manuals – and much more!
What do you like the most in your work?
EW: That it is a hands-on type of work. You get involved actively and personally, mostly by use of hands in doing several maintenance tasks and adequately learning a new skill or procedures during this process. Every day is a good learning experience that allows you to acquire, grow and build on your abilities as well as on your character while faced with daily challenges.
I also like learning at work as it helps me to get better and better: I have recently acquired my EASA Part 66 License and looking forward to the qualification privileges that come with the certificate authorization. It is just but the beginning of the best that is yet to come.
What would you say are the biggest challenges in your work?
EW: Time. When it comes to line maintenance, time is of the essence. All maintenance procedures should be over and done within the specified period of time – aircraft ground time. One needs to be very proactive, vigilant and fast while performing various maintenance procedures to avoid delays at any cost. A delay due to maintenance means a delay in flight departure. Maintenance delays mostly happen when the aircraft has a snag, and the procedure requires more ground time or when the engineer declares the aircraft is unfit to fly.
Weather also can play a big role: it’s an external factor that we have no control over and work still needs to be done. We operate and perform tasks on the apron where the aircraft is parked, meaning you work out in the open – on rainy days it can be very chaotic and unpleasant. You need to be extremely careful while working in such an environment in order to avoid accidents and hazards both to yourself and the aircraft.
Additionally, at work, we need various types of equipment to facilitate different type of tasks and assist in accessing different zones of different aircraft types. For example, lack of the correct towing bar for a specified type of aircraft means no towing until the right equipment is made available – and this is where delay can occur.
We face many challenges in my line of work but the goal is to overcome them and successfully perform your tasks – each day!
Can you share your best memory from working in aviation/ in Direct maintenance?
EW: Back in 2015, when I was working as an intern, one engineer made all of the freshers bring along a notebook and pen while on his shift and working on the aircraft. You would never imagine leaving school for another school back at work. It was always class-time with him – he once made us draw an aircraft and name all the parts. I used to look forward to his shifts as it was always an interactive and fun session. It might look weird, but it actually was a great take on teaching for accountability and learning purposes and that facilitated who I am today. I cherish such a memory because it built a character and habit in me. You will never miss seeing me with a notebook and pen!
Besides the aviation, what are your other passions?
EW: Social work and community development – especially working with children and families as a non-formal volunteer. Through volunteering one can gain new skills, broaden your own skills, develop new interests and become more involved with the community. I love giving back to the community – especially my time. You are blessed to be a blesser. I feel like our purpose is to put a smile – it is also the best makeup – on someone’s face and let love lead in everything you do. “I am because you are, and you are because I am”.
I also really enjoy farming! I started small scale poultry farming with a few chickens in the countryside now when the pandemic hit – it’s challenging but I am excited and hopeful!
What other hobbies you have?
EW: Swimming, dancing and working out to maintain a healthy lifestyle – as the saying goes, health the new wealth.
I have special interests in acquiring more knowledge in handling maintenance of various types of aircraft, especially the A320 and B787; enhancing my knowledge about the aviation industry in general. I also like mat knitting and I am a bit motorsports fan, including Formula 1!
What are your favorite destinations to travel to?
EW: Take me to Tanzania – their beaches are wonderful and the people very polite. Or Nigeria – their culture is very unique and profound. Also, Las Vegas – a city that knows no night or day and almost everyone is a tourist. That’s the best part!
Do you have a favorite motto or quote that you apply in your life?
EW: I have many that I meditate on and affirm myself with depending on the circumstances – but this one stands out for me: “Better is not good enough, the best is yet to come”.