Meelis Karus, a former Magnetic MRO employee, has made an Impressive career in aviation, which convincingly proves that with the Aviation Academy’s degree, individual commitment, and constant hard work put in, no challenge in the aviation realm can ever be Insurmountable.
Meelis willingly accepted our invitation for a short interview to talk about his path before and after Magnetic MRO. We expect that his message may Invoke in many a high school student and recent graduate interest in qualifying themselves for aviation careers.
How did you find your way to the aviation profession?
MK: Actually, I became fascinated with aviation in spring 2001, when as a high school senior, I visited the Teeviit Education Fair, where among numerous others, I stopped with curiosity at the Estonian Aviation Academy’s desk. Everything I heard and saw there was so exciting that, after leaving high school, I decided to compete for admission to the Aircraft Maintenance major. In that major, the theoretical courses at the Academy are integrated with hands-on training on the internships; for example, with the Border Guard Aviation Group, where I did mine. It was just there that I became Interested in larger aircraft and, by pursuing this very Interest and the undergraduate degree in aviation engineering, I successfully landed for my practical career with Magnetic MRO, for almost a dozen years.
Would you also suggest that career seekers today choose aviation where to pursue their studies and win their bread?
MK: Indeed! I cannot claim either as having been born with a sort of aviation engineer’s genes in my veins. My firm decision to study aircraft maintenance engineering came as a sort of flow experience and I have always been happy about it. If I could live all those bygone years the second time, I am sure that my choice of aviation career would be adamant, even more so now, in the critical period for everyone. Whoever decides to study for an aviation career, shall take a four-year undergraduate course first. Even if the economy is in its low, studying and teaching are still continuing in their usual ruts. Once the undergraduate degree has been earned, the economy at large may be back on its feet, and aviation will be moving upmarket again, which means that the professional jobs will be waiting! The aircraft keep flying, and the jobs of those people who pilot and maintain them, as well as operate the facilities and serve passengers, will never end.
You joined Magnetic MRO as a certified aircraft mechanic. Would you, please, tell us something about your job!
I started my career as a novice, mechanic. Parallel to my practical job, I studied at type training courses and acquired type licenses in order to be capable of taking on more complex challenges and tasks. It involved my getting promoted from the post of a licensed mechanic to that of zone manager, and further — to the position of the project manager. In the latter position, I worked for four years, prior to quitting the Magnetic MRO.
I was supervising the whole process of aircraft maintenance and took responsibility for all the maintenance operations performed on the aircraft. The high responsibility aside, I honestly admit that the project manager’s job is the most interesting one, as it enables one to delve into the very depth of the aircraft being repaired or overhauled. The engineering responsibilities are but one part of the project manager’s job. The job incurs also plenty of administrative functions and responsibilities. As an aviation engineer, I deem It necessary that those tasks be in a proper ratio.
Frankly, I highly appreciate the experience acquired while working with Magnetic MRO. It was like a growing bed for my experience, knowledge and skills. This is where my engineer’s potential was well-shaped and matured, and I highly appreciate the all-around work experience gained; and the quality assurance implementation, as well as the facilities and work conditions, that are exemplary there and that I had a pleasure to share!
By all means, the employees of Magnetic MRO are highly professional! Herewith, my special compliments and credit are due to Sergei Shkolnik — the Base Maintenance Manager, and to Toomas-Tanel Tõugjas — the Line Maintenance Manager! They both have been great mentors for me, and I feel deeply indebted to them both for their high professional knowledge and experience!
You have set an excellent example of advancement in aviation profession, by having started your career in Tallinn and, thereafter, working up your way to joining a MRO where still larger aircraft are maintained and repaired?
MK: I like to study new things. Hence, a few years ago I hit on the Idea of moving ahead in my career and start maintaining wide-body aircraft, for which my relocation abroad became a must. I became affiliated with an aviation company in Scandinavia. There I completed a type training, earned the license and started working with the line maintenance of Boeing 787.
Thus, you switched from Base maintenance over to Line maintenance. Would you like to explain, why?
MK: Base and Line maintenances necessitate the use of different work experience. In Line maintenance, mechanics shall take a holistic approach to every plane and estimate their airworthiness, in a very short time, very often even in time constraints. Whereas, in Base maintenance, each aircraft serviced is, generally, divided into major zones and subzones, and the overall maintenance procedure may run for several weeks.
Which tips of advice would you like to share with the aviation students and/or interns who are just embarking on either their academic course of studies or an internship?
MK: Work hard! Keep committed when studying all the fundamental and theory courses! Academic semesters are just the proper time for learning everything theoretical! Practical skills can be acquired while on your internships, or when in jobs, already. Use your class time to become well versed theoretically! Aviation is in constant evolution, which makes life-long learning indispensable because the innovation in engineering and technology implicitly incurs changes in equipment, tools and in maintenance procedures.
Also, never cut corners! is a wise adage to follow! Haphazard or hasty work performance is never permitted in aviation! You are expected to give plentiful questions until you have a perfectly clear comprehension of what you have to do and how you shall do the job!
As maintenance mechanics, you will be strictly abiding by the sequence of steps, thoroughly described in the respective Maintenance Manuals. Nevertheless, please remember that no job-related question is ever out of place! Thus, suppress your shyness and just ask for more clarity! Clarity is an important asset to ensure safety and security!
Thank you, Meelis and we all at Magnetic MRO wish you bright future!