Antoine always dreamed of becoming a pilot since he was a young boy playing with toy planes around the house. When an opportunity to apprentice with the local airline at the time presented itself, he became exposed to the engineering side of the aviation field. This opportunity launched his pursuit to study Aviation Maintenance Services and return home to Turks & Caicos to apply his knowledge and experience with local airline companies and aircrafts.
How did you begin in this industry? What were some of your early roles?
When I was about to start 4th Form, I got a summer job at Sky King as an apprentice. While there, I was able to work on planes and learn more about the maintenance side of aviation. That summer job at Sky King was my beginning. I worked that summer, then every other break after that. I then worked as a full-time apprentice for a year after graduating high school where I built tires, cleared and packed bearings, treated corrosion, carried out compressor washes, and was able to learn about aircraft mechanics in general.
I went to the U.S. to study Aviation Maintenance Science at the National Aviation Academy where I got my Airframe and Powerplant License. Then, I attended the prestigious Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where I received my Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance Service with a concentration in Management. After graduating, I returned home to work with both of the local airlines.
What are your main responsibilities and what do you like most about your work?
In my previous role as an Aircraft Mechanic, I performed daily checks, and scheduled and unscheduled maintenance on the aircrafts to ensure they continually fly in airworthy conditions. It may seem simple, but I’m constantly challenged with the work, especially when issues may arise.
I’ve now been promoted to Quality Assurance and Safety Manager of Caicos Express Airways, and am responsible for ensuring all work on aircrafts is carried out in accordance with standards and practices of manufacturers and regulators. I review regulations to not only make sure the aircrafts stay airworthy, but also that the airline itself stays within regulations at all times. It’s my responsibility to conduct internal audits and sources, respond to external audits, and update and sometimes rewrite manuals to accommodate changes within the organization.
Completing a major project and witnessing the aircraft fly without issue are all great moments of satisfaction and confidence.
What are some skills and attributes someone should have to be successful in this field?
Be focused, attentive, patient, punctual, and have good awareness and cognitive thinking. This field doesn’t get as much recognition for the major role it plays in aviation but when an aircraft takes off, be confident knowing you performed your job in a safe and proper manner in accordance with the prescribed manual.
What advice would you give someone who is considering this type of job or field?
For someone considering this career path, I’d say to go for it! You can never stop learning, gaining knowledge, or advancing in the field. Even if you don’t think aircraft mechanics is for you, look into avionics. No matter your path, stay focused, work hard and diligently, and always remember people’s lives depend on the quality of the work you do.
What’s next in store for you?
My continued strive for knowledge has led me to do courses for both quality assurance and safety management, and I have been equally rewarded for never becoming complacent in the field. My new role allows me to work closely with inspectors of the Civil Aviation Authority, the regulatory body of aviation here in TCI. One can imagine the level of experience I’m now able to gain from all the new opportunities available to be in this field. I plan to continue to do my part in raising the aviation quality and standards, and becoming a future leader of aviation in the TCI.