Broad focus and close inspection at aircraft competition

Elliott Farnan carrying out a daily inspection on a Mitsubishi MU2 aircraft
Elliott Farnan carrying out a daily inspection on a Mitsubishi MU2 aircraft during the National Selection competition at RNZAF Base Woodbourne. Inspection is one of the prime safety tools used to ensure that aircraft are serviceable and safe for flight.

1 November 2023

Entering the WorldSkills New Zealand Aircraft Maintenance Competition has been a deliberate move for former Westlake Boys student, Kaleb Bentham. Now, the aircraft engineer-in-training from Air NZ Auckland, likes to test himself in challenging situations and improve his skills for the future.

“The WorldSkills competition has been more than just another learning experience,” says Kaleb. “It is also a great social event. You get to learn how to do a very different level of daily tasks and see the whole picture rather than the one you do in your daily work and meet some really cool people along the way.”

Kaleb says the framework of competition definitely helps to show what you can achieve in a narrow timeframe, free from the risks of real-world impact.

His advice to others is, “Apply as soon as you can, just have a go, learn new skills, see how others approach tasks differently but achieve the same results, and … at the end, go back and reflect, hone your skills, then try again.”

Kaleb is one of three Auckland-based aircraft engineers-in-training from Air NZ competing in this year’s national WorldSkills New Zealand Aircraft Maintenance Competition. Lewis Alley, who attended Hamilton Boys’ and Elliott Farnan, who attended Long Bay College, are also in the line-up.

Lewis says the WorldSkills New Zealand Aircraft Maintenance competition looked like a good opportunity to see where he sat in relation to other apprentices from other parts of the aviation world: from general aviation, helicopters, even his peers at Air NZ. The detail demanded during the national selection competition in Blenheim, surprised him. He saw just how differently everyone approached the tasks. Back at work, Lewis is noticing the things he has learnt and has been taught do for the competition, in terms of tool control and foreign object debris.

With the upcoming Nationals, other than catching up with the other engineers from the selection competition Elliott is keen to give the Borescope module a go. The Borescope or videoscope module uses a flexibly mounted miniature camera to look and record inside a component or engine without dismantling it.

Since taking part in the selection competition in Blenheim earlier this year, Elliott says he tries to remember to note down little things at work. “I am more conscious of what I am doing and why I am doing it.”