Read more about an amazing work experience opportunity one of our participants was offered through their social media presence – you never know where a Tweet will lead!
Late last year, I had an engineer reach out to me (via my aviation photography social media platform) asking if I’d be interested in going into their Norwich base. Located in the Norwich Airport grounds, the base operates up to 3 helicopters at a time depending on the volume of operations. The base is an aircraft hangar which contains the pilots and engineers quarters, and also where rig workers arrive before their flights out to the North Sea. These helicopters make multiple flights a day to transport workers to oil rigs and gas platforms. I accepted of course as I’ve loved aviation since I was young (especially helicopters).
During this visit I got up close with the helicopters and their mechanics, the Leonardo AW139 to be precise, I was able to perform a small task in which the main rotor is tilted side to side, and the engine covers opened to expose the engines. I was sitting in the cockpit in control of the rotor and main brake (supervised by an engineer), while another engineer was removing the salts. Given these helicopters fly at low altitude over the sea, salt congregates in the engine and needs to be removed after each working day. Being physically involved made me realise how concentrated I was, but most importantly that I was having fun! Though I wasn’t prepared for the helicopter to wiggle side to side during the rotor tilting, it made out for a good laugh with the engineers! I also had a brief chat with the pilots about their flight plan and what being an offshore pilot entails.
I found this visit extremely helpful and inspiring, as it showed me the bigger picture of my dream career and how I can get there.