Cyrille Pillet

Cyrille Pillet is powerplant manager at British Mediterranean Airways. Originally from France, he is now based at London Heathrow

Engines: a big challenge, but small enough for job satisfaction

How did you get into aerospace?

I have wanted to be in close contact with aircraft since I was a kid and I wanted to go for the tough challenge in the industry. Everyone in this job has to be passionate about it. I know I will never leave this industry.

What does your job involve?

I manage all aspects of engine maintenance, which ensures we keep our operation as safe and reliable as possible.

My priority is providing day-to-day support as necessary to the engineers on the ground. If the engine manufacturers need tobe contacted for any reason, I will be involved in that. In the medium to long term, I will also use my experience and that of other airlines and manufacturers to develop and customise our maintenance programme to fit our company better.

I also keep a close eye on our engines when they are in the shop or being tested.

There are also one-off projects, such as recommending to the airline which engines would be best suited for future orders.

So there is a technical side to it, but also managing the costs associated with the engines - more and more in this job, you need to be aware of the financial aspects.

What qualifications and skills did you bring to the job?

I did a five-year degree at Estaca, an engineering college in Paris - it specialises in the aerospace and automotive industries.

I didn't know engines were what I wanted to work in, but I did a lot of placements during the course on production lines and with airlines. These included six months at British Airways, where they gave me lots of responsibility on the engines and I really enjoyed it.

Engines are big enough to be challenging to work on, but small enough that you can work on a complete project. I didn't want to spend time working on brackets, or a small piece of something.

What are the challenges of working abroad?

Language can be a barrier. I learnt most technical words in French and it can be embarrassing for the first few months when the phone rings and you speak to someone with a heavy regional British accent and they are using English terminology.

It comes with time, though. I have found it largely beneficial working in a country that is not my own, as I have been able to learn about a different culture and its different practices.

Source: Flight International