SimHelp has a wide network of engineers with whom we work, and this time we would like to introduce you to one of them. Maybe you share some common issues with him? This interview could help you to find some solutions!
Arturas Bartkevicius is the Director of Infrastructure – Simulators Department, at the Baltic Aviation Academy. Arturas manages a team of five engineers working on the Airbus 320, and Boeing 737 CL Full Flight Simulators, and Flight Navigation Procedure Trainer II. He shared a little bit about his work, simulators, and how SimHelp helps him with the daily tasks of his team.
So, Arturas, what do you do at the Baltic Aviation Academy? Would it be correct to say that in short you’re an engineer?
I have started my career as an engineer, but now I’m more of a manager. I manage our engineering department.
How did you get to where you are now?
It all started in 2008. I was the first engineer employed by BAA. Almost immediately they sent me to England to train me on the Boeing 737 simulator we currently have here in our center. After a couple of weeks there, I was joined by a colleague from Lithuania, who was hired quickly after I was, and was sent to England as well. We flew back to Lithuania, along with the FFS. We got back with engineers who helped us installing the simulator at our facility, one more engineer was employed. Having completed our training in England we were able to train the new engineer ourselves, and so we were three engineers and one full flight simulator.
When was this?
The first simulator – Boeing 737 CL was set-up in the year 2008. The second one – Airbus 320, was installed here in 2011. We were once again sent abroad to learn how to work with it. This time in Belgium.
So both times you were taught on the simulators, which are actually the ones you are maintaining right now?
Yes. Since all of the little details matter, and every simulator is a little bit different, it is best to learn on the simulators with which you are actually going to work. I would not be able to step into a different simulator, even if it is the same model, and to my job to the best of my abilities. The simulators may have a different CPU, OS, other host computer, and other things.
So how did you move towards a managerial position?
I think it just happened naturally. I was the first one here, and taking responsibility for the team’s work came naturally to me, when the team was growing little by little, I grew too. One thing led to another, and I officially became a manager.
What does a manager of the engineering department do around here?
I take care of engineers schedules, assign tasks among the team. I am also relied upon to make sure that our simulators are in top condition, that all the necessary certificates are up to date. And the simulator is functioning in accordance to EASA standards.
Could you tell us what are some of the biggest challenges you face as a manager?
I would say that one of the biggest problems is managing the workflow between engineers, and making sure that there’s continuity between the work done by different people. It is rather difficult as engineers work in shifts, ensuring the 24/7 maintenance required for the FFS.
One engineer would work for a few days, and then have a couple of days off, and a different person has to continue the job the first engineer started. I need to make sure that all of the engineers have everything they need to do their job, and do it perfectly. Every little thing is important.
Sounds like you keep yourself busy…
Yeah, well SimHelp “helps” (laughs).
Could you elaborate?
Honestly, engineers don’t have time to look through all the offers for a particular part to look for the best price. That’s why if you are in a rush, which you usually are if there’s a problem with your simulator, you tend to overpay quite a lot. With SimHelp it does not happen, they would send me a lot of different offers for me to choose from, and I can pick the best option for the company. That’s a load of my shoulders, and it saves both, time and money.
And what does an engineer do here, what are his daily activities?
Our engineers have to perform scheduled maintenance checks on the simulators for all the little things, such as cleaning and placing the oxygen masks where they should be, fixing the seats, checking if there aren’t any waste around, and make sure that everything is working the way it should. These are simple little things, but we have to do that as well. And then there are larger regular check-ups, which we do every month, every quarter, and half of the year.
And what are the most common issues that come up with the simulators?
Well, what happens more than a random technical breakdown is a random human error. Human factor has to be accounted for. Those are usually some silly mistakes, caused by not knowing something, and we usually work those out pretty quick.
What about technical issues?
Well it varies, depends on what kind of simulator we are talking about. Still, I would not be able to point out any kind of recurrent issues, or say that one specific simulator is prone to one or another specific problem. The little problems, such as a faulty light bulb occurs at pretty much the same rate for every simulator. We would do a daily check-up, notice that, and fix it quickly.
SimHelp allows us to always have the spare parts we need. Sometimes it can be a little tricky to find what we need quickly. In this business you always have to react quickly, and find exactly what you need without wasting any time. Time really means money here, if you don’t have the equipment you need, and if your simulator cannot be used, you’re flushing money down the toilet.
We had to end our conversation with Arturas right there, as he kept getting calls. There‘s always something to do for an engineer.
Maybe you have some engineering questions, or would like us to dive into a topic you have a special interest for? Let us know by emailing SimHelp!