One of the compelling aspects of working in Airbus is the abundance of experts and professionals who are not only accessible but also genuinely supportive. The diversity of backgrounds among colleagues creates a dynamic and enriching work environment. Airbus provides me with a platform where I can contribute to innovative projects while being surrounded by a supportive community of skilled individuals.


What is your current role and where are you based?

I’m Kodai Shibata, Lead Flight Test Engineer with Airbus Helicopters in Kobe, Japan. I am responsible for conducting flight testing for local customers and broadcasting companies. Prior to this, I was a Flight Test Analyst for five years and an Electrical Engineer before that.. In my current role, I am also involved in electrical design and analyses.

What inspired you to be part of the aerospace sector?

I obtained a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering with Osaka University and completed my internship as a Factory Automation Engineer in Slovenia, Europe. While my formal education may not be in aerospace, I have always felt a profound connection and genuine interest in the field. The sophisticated systems inherent in airplanes and helicopters have fascinated me, driving my passion to join the industry. 

What was the main drive that led you to apply and be part of Airbus?

I was drawn to the Japanese concept of ‘gemba’, which emphasises the importance of a place where value is created. Seeking exposure to real-world problems and challenges, I found Airbus Helicopters the ideal platform and training ground for cultivating meaningful solutions in the dynamic aerospace industry. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Flight testing allows me to experience the culmination of the aerospace process, covering a diverse spectrum of topics. The dynamic nature of the work ensures that it is never dull, presenting continuous learning opportunities. Moreover, the role ensures valuable connections with professionals across Airbus and its subsidiaries, contributing to the enhancement of both my knowledge and skills. I am grateful for the enriching experience and growth this opportunity has provided.


Tell us about a memorable experience from your career at Airbus. What made it so special and unforgettable?

During the pandemic, our team faced a significant challenge with a flight test in China. Beyond the technical aspects, I navigated non-technical challenges such as the local laws and procurement, coordinating the shipment of parts from Japan to China. Despite the complexities, I felt immense pride in our skills and experienced team as we successfully conducted the flight test. The collaboration in Airbus, including with colleagues from China, France and Germany, was a testament to our collective strength. This experience was indeed a major milestone in my career!

What is the most important advice you have been given, and is there any advice you would like to give?

I have always held my grandfather’s wisdom close to heart - he believed a professional should surpass expectations and gain fans through their work. Personally, I have embraced the philosophy of ‘finding your challenge and enjoying it’. What drew me to Airbus is its commitment to fostering an environment where individuals can continuously challenge themselves. 

What has been one of the most empowering moments at Airbus?

In the pursuit of obtaining my Lead Flight Test Engineer certification, I underwent a comprehensive 5-month training programme in the US. The experience not only equipped me with the necessary skills but also gave me the opportunity to interact with various teams. I took pride in sharing my insights of my role, and I felt a great sense of achievement when I witnessed the surprise and amazement among my colleagues as they learned more about the impactful work we do in this field.

In what way do the values of Airbus relate to your own?

What stands out for me at Airbus is the culture of collaboration, where there is a genuine willingness to support, share skills and listen to diverse ideas. While the Japanese culture often emphasises age, experience and hierarchy, I have been actively working to shift that mindset within my teams. Encouraging employees to speak up and share innovative ideas where everyone is motivated to perform at their best, ultimately contributes to a culture of continuous improvement and excellence.


How do you enjoy spending your free time?

I find joy in activities like cycling, rock climbing and the occasional game of golf. However, my schedule is predominantly occupied by my two children who keep me wonderfully busy!

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