Lachlan Kirk, 17, scored an opportunity to walk and work, in the shoes of an aircraft engineer, at LifeFlight’s Heavy Maintenance Facility at Archerfield, in Brisbane.
The St Luke’s Anglican School Year 11 student was inspired to learn what happens behind the scenes of the rescue service, after an eye-opening visit to the Bundaberg base.
“I’ve always had a fascination with helicopters and the visit to the base triggered me to think ‘I’m going to take this as far as I can'”, Lachlan said.
“Hearing some of the stories about the pilots and the crew drew me into the industry even more.”
The work experience student was hands-on with the aircraft from his first day at the LifeFlight Heavy Maintenance Facility at Archerfield.
His duties started with helping strip back the interior of a Bell 412 helicopter – the same type as the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue chopper used in Bundaberg.
“We pulled the interior apart and gave everything a clean. The second and third days were very similar. We did a bit of work on the AW139 helicopter as well, polishing it and cleaning everything up. Then we did some tests on it, to get it ready to leave the maintenance centre and go back to its base.”
Lachlan was joined by another student, Brit Napier, from Pimpama State Secondary College, on the Gold Coast.
Engineering Operations Manager Michael Dopking was impressed by the boys’ early passion for aviation and said they quickly picked up the tricks of the trade.
“By the end of the first day their faces were gleaming with smiles and excitement. Both were keen to come back the next day,” he said.
“We get the boys involved with real hands-on work, so they get a great insight into the work of an aircraft maintenance engineer and what goes on behind the scenes, to keep the helicopters and jets ready for any mission.”
Lachlan said he’s aiming to work with helicopters after he graduates from high school – either flying them or doing maintenance work.