Russel Oehms, Fleet Airworthiness Controller, has joined our team this year and has been covering the workscope in Australia. To welcome him to the team – and to get to know him better – we have invited Russel to share his insights about work and beyond in the Faces of Magnetic feature.
Tell us about your path that led you to aviation: why did you choose this industry? How did your career start?
My path to aviation began when I was 10 when I first took up model aircraft. Now 30+ years on and I am still enthralled by the challenges that aviation has to offer.
I started my career in aviation as an Avionics Apprentice, working at a Heavy Maintenance Organization in Geelong, Victoria Australia, working on Boeing 747 Classic aircraft. After a period of 5 years, I became a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, while also achieving an unrestricted Private Pilot’s License.
As I worked up through the Piloting studies, I found myself more drawn to the engineering side of aircraft than the actual flying. I extended my knowledge into airframe and engine systems, and I was got heavily involved in the CAMO work for a few small regional airlines. This work involved importing of aircraft, C of A’s, C of R’s and the implementation of Australia Regulations regarding Part 42, Part 145 and Safety Management Systems.
How did you hear about the opening at Magnetic and why you decided to join the team?
I heard about the opportunity to join the great Magnetic MRO team through a close work colleague with who I have worked for 20+ years. He said he knew of an opportunity to join a very professional international organization - after a bit of research, and a better understanding of the role I would play with Regional Express here in Australia, I decided to join - and I have not been disappointed.
What were your first impressions since you have started working here?
I have been very encouraged by the way the business is handling the difficult issues of COVID-19 while continuing to strengthen its business presence.
What do you enjoy the most in your line of work? What do you find to be the most challenging?
I like working with people to find solutions and identify improvements that can be made to make everyone’s job a little easier. People very rarely put themselves in the other person shoes and step back, to understand how they can work better with others. While we all understand the importance of what we do and respect the chain of command, nothing should prevent you from offering ideas and suggestions on how things could be improved.
The most challenging thing I find in my job is being able to explain complex Engineering and Regulatory matters to our customer, in a way they can understand, so they can make good decisions.
Safety Management System and the integration and learnings from this in the workplace has always played a big part in who I am, and what I do in aviation. There are not too many people in aviation that have not been exposed to the not so pleasant side of aviation accidents and incidents. I have a real passion for passing on knowledge and information gathered over many years, about all the various things that come together before an accident/incident occurs. It is generally never a single factor that has caused an incident or incident, more likely a series of events and condition, that all contribute to a negative outcome. However, it should never be forgotten that we can also learn from when things go well, so when you think about how you resolved a bad situation, how about you report it, and see if others can learn from the positive factors that contributed to your success!
Moving aside from work, tell us about your hobbies: what do you like to do in your free time? What’s your passion?
I like playing golf and going fishing. I am married and have 3 children living with me in Brisbane Australia - they all have various needs and interests. My 15-year-old son wants to be a genuine “Rocket Scientist”, so I have learnt a lot about space, and Space X, in the last 2 years!!
As for my fishing exploits, I like to go Game Fishing, with my biggest catch being a 500+ lbs Black Marlin off Hawaii with my father in 2008.