Bringing Enthusiasm To Role

RAAF
A day in the life of a Non-Destructive Inspection Technician – Corporal Matthew James

As a Non-Destructive Inspection Technician (NDITECH), my role is to carry out inspections on RAAF aircraft and support equipment to ensure the integrity of the airframe structures and components.

We use methods such as radiography, ultrasonics, eddy current, magnetic particle and liquid penetrant to detect any cracks, corrosion, disbonds and delamination that may constitute a defect in that particular component.

What it takes and how I joined

The role requires high attention to detail, enthusiasm, and an ability to work autonomously. Along with a passion for the role, those skills are vital to becoming a highly professional and capable NDITECH.

I originally joined the Air Force as an aircraft surface finisher and during my time in trade, I worked closely with NDITECHs. The more I learnt about the role, the more convinced I was that this was the job for me, and I was fortunate enough to be able to remuster.

I am currently an NDITECH at RAAF Base Williamtown, working to provide support for all units on base including Air Combat Group, Surveillance and Response Group, contractors and ad hoc requests.

Start of the day

The day begins by checking all job requests that have come into the section. The majority of our current workload is from the F-35A deeper level maintenance line, so we would typically go down to the line and discuss the details of the work we have for that day.

A lot of the work is rotating eddy current, and ultrasonic inspections following repair, working in conjunction with the aircraft structural technicians.

While completing multiple jobs during the morning, there is usually enough time to catch up in the section for a coffee during the morning and a game of squash during my lunch break.

After lunch

After lunch there could be follow-on repair/rework inspections. We could have a short-notice task such as a bird strike or other flightline inspections, or another deeper level maintenance inspection of some sort. The scope of NDI work, and the inspection methods used, can be very different from day to day.

Good work-life balance

I love that I get to work mostly autonomously in this trade and the work-life balance is great. We mostly work day shifts and aren’t deployed very often; however, the role still challenges me mentally and in those challenging times, makes me think outside the box.

For any member interested in the role, I would encourage them to engage with current NDITECHs and do some work experience at their local NDI section. For those that are successful in remustering, it can get tough on course, but don’t give up. It’s all worth it in the end.

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