On May 24th, we’re celebrating the dedication of all Airbus maintenance employees behind the scenes who take care of the safety of the whole in-service Airbus family fleet around the world. Maintenance is an essential part of our efforts to provide customers with the right helicopter for their missions, at the right time, and with the highest levels of safety. To find out more, we met Mohamadi Azaroual, a maintenance technician at Airbus Helicopters in Marignane. Mohamadi joined the company almost 20 years ago, and here he reflects on the transformation and opportunities of a career in helicopter maintenance.

What is your background?

I started my career in industrial manufacturing, after qualifying as a turning lathe operator and fitter. I joined Airbus in 2005, as part of the Helicopter Maintenance and Repair Department (DERH). I was looking for opportunities to expand my knowledge and thanks to a training programme, I became a maintenance technician and joined the military support centre for France (MSCF). Since then, I’ve specialised in helicopter fuselage maintenance as part of technical support within the Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) team.

Why did you want to work in maintenance?

I was always interested in understanding how aircraft fly, how they were prepared before a flight and maintained afterwards. It’s a fascinating environment. Maintenance enables me to combine my passion for aviation with the complexity and hands-on aspect of an industrial activity. Everyday, we’re in direct contact with almost the entire range of Airbus helicopters. Contributing to making them fly never ceases to amaze me.

What’s the best part of your daily job?

As part of the technical maintenance team, I bring support to our customers, wherever they need it. If a helicopter airframe is in need of an important repair, I travel to the customer’s premises with all the necessary tools and equipment. It is all about finding the quickest, most efficient solution to get the aircraft back off the ground. This task makes you realise how essential maintenance is to preserve the availability and guarantee the safety of our products. You get to see how you actually contribute to a customer’s mission, which is always gratifying.

Your career in aviation spans over 20 years. What changes have you noticed?

Over my career, I got to work on a variety of aircraft, from the older generation, such as the Puma SA 330, to the latest addition to our military range, the H175M. They are very different! Two major areas that exemplify this evolution are structural materials and avionics. We went from aluminium to composites, and from traditional instruments to fully digital features. Airbus is a very innovative environment, which means we all need to stay up to speed on the latest features of all helicopters and still master the requirements of previous-generation products.

What piece of advice would you give to anyone thinking of a career in maintenance or aviation?

My advice would be to stay curious and to never stop learning. There are so many different ways to develop your career at Airbus. Take this opportunity to discover new areas, new products and new techniques. There’s never a dull day in maintenance, you’re always switching between different types of helicopters and different tasks, which makes this entire experience extremely enriching.

What’s a memorable experience in your career?

I can’t pick one because there are so many. What’s different about my job is that most of the time, I am travelling to assist our customers and maintain their rotorcraft. This gives me a high degree of autonomy, but most importantly, being in direct contact with our customers is always gratifying, for two main reasons. Once we complete the maintenance process, we see their satisfaction first-hand when they are able to operate their helicopter again. You really feel like you’re part of an entire team focused on finding solutions together. Additionally, it’s a great opportunity to discover new countries, new cultures and to meet new people. Maintenance is about taking care of helicopter fleets, but most of all, it’s a human experience to help our customers across the globe. Each maintenance mission is a memorable experience in and of itself.