Meet Gerard Lernihan, Avionics Technician
Gerard began his career at Atlantic Aviation Group in 2015, joining the team as an Apprentice Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. Since then, Gerard has moved to his current role as an Avionics Technician. Working in our MRO, Gerard’s days can vary from troubleshooting to operational checks and performing modifications. We caught up with Gerard to learn more about his experience in Atlantic Aviation Group.
Can you tell me about yourself and your career so far? When did you join the team at Atlantic Aviation Group and how has your experience been?
Well I started my career in aviation in September 2015 by applying for the aircraft maintenance apprenticeship and after going through practical tests and an interview I got accepted. My experience since I started has been overall very positive, the initial 9 months I spent in Shannon training centre carrying out theoretical and practical training provided me with the knowledge that I would require to further choose which skillset I would like to focus on, which just so happened to be Avionics. After passing the EASA modules and the practical training at the training centre, I then got back to the hangar where I got the chance to experience many of the different workstations like wings/tail, cabin and engines/landing gear, where the crews were more than helpful in imparting knowledge and helping me progress. But as I chose Avionics I wanted to spend the bulk of my time in Avionics learning how to perform a range of different tasks from operational checks to performing modifications. After spending a year in the hangar, I then had the opportunity to gain more of an understanding for aircraft systems and get a higher qualification by attending TU Dublin. After successful completion of my apprenticeship (thankfully, I was then offered a position as an Avionics technician in October 2019 and have been here since, I also completed a B737Ng type course in June 2020 and hope to progress to a certifying position.
What inspired you to work in aviation (Aircraft Maintenance/Design/CAMO/Training)?
I used to work in my father’s garage carrying out maintenance on agricultural equipment, tractors and automobiles, where I gained a curiosity in learning how different machines operated, what their common faults were and how to maintain them. This is what inspired me to apply for the apprenticeship as it was a completely different industry that could provide a whole new level of training into a global industry where no expense is spared when it comes to maintenance and also provide me with good maintenance practices that I could use for life.
Can you describe to me what it is like to work in your department/team?
Working at the different Avionics stations has been a very positive experience for me, from the moment I started working in the Avionics team the guys have been more than helpful and haven’t been shy about telling me where I was going wrong in terms of how I performed tasks and helping me improve on my technical knowledge of aircraft systems and company procedures. The Avionics team as a whole are a great bunch to work with, their professionalism to get the work done to a high standard and ability to make it a fun station to work in, is very refreshing.
What is a typical day at work for you? What are some of your favourite tasks to do/projects to work on?
My typical day would start at 8:00am were I would first attend the morning meeting at the Avionics station where the crew (myself included) would be informed of our objectives for current project and any safety information that relates to us. I would then get assigned work for the day which could vary depending on the status of the check, i.e. at the start of the check the crew leader would assign each crew member a pre-check task which mostly consist of operational tests. After getting assigned a task I would then research the procedure in the maintenance manuals provided and perform the task.
Some of my favourite tasks to do are modifications, operational checks, rectifications and troubleshooting as they can be really challenging and when they’re fixed/installed it’s really gratifying plus it helps me understand the systems that much better. Some of my favourite projects to work on are projects that provide a task/modification that I haven’t encountered before.
What are the benefits to working in AAG?
The staff that I work with on a daily basis are very professional and provide a fun element to working in AAG which is one of the biggest benefits to working in AAG. The training facilities are top notch with the training staff that are employed there, who are very helpful in answering any questions I may have and the facilities that are provided in order to carry out any training are very comprehensive.
What’s your favourite thing about working in AAG?
My favourite thing about working in AAG would be the people I get to work with on a daily basis and I would have to say getting to carry out new and challenging tasks is very rewarding when they come about.
If you could have one super power what would it be?
I guess if I could pick one superpower it would have to be the ability to time travel, there’s been some cool moments in history I’d love to experience