Meet our Chief Engineer – Finbarr Lynch

Finbarr Lynch is the Chief Engineer at AFTA and has had a passion for flying since he was a child. Finbarr started his aeronautical engineering career in the Irish Air Corps in the early 1990s. We recently interviewed Finbarr to give you an insight into our Engineering Team and the important role they have in maintaining our modern fleet of aircraft.

What led you to a career in aeronautical engineering?

I have always had an interest in cars/motor bikes basically anything with an engine. When my dad bought me a 15 minute flight in a Cessna when I was 8 I instantly caught the aviation bug . Aircraft Engineering combines both of my interests. The rest as they say is history . I have my own airfield on my dad’s farm in Fermoy and own 2 Microlights. Any chance I get, I like to go flying and take my daughter with me, it is complete freedom that never gets old.

Can you tell us more about your career before joining AFTA?

I started my career in aviation joining the Air Corps in 1990 training as an aircraft engineer. In my nine years there I worked on various aircraft but mostly the Casa CN 235 Maritime Patrol aircraft. Flying with the crew on patrol missions, air ambulance and top cover rescue missions, which I really enjoyed. I then moved to SRS In Shannon now Atlantic Aviation Group and spent 14 years there working on all the Boeing models from 727 to 777. I also became an inspector there gaining my Boeing 737 type license, I then moved to Bond Air Services now Babcock. This was a big change for me working on helicopters. Babcock service the 2 gas rigs off the coast of Kinsale with an EC135 helicopter. I spent 4 years there and gained my EC135 type license. In my spare time I’m an inspector for the Irish Light Aircraft Association and the National Microlight Association and carry out permit to fly inspections for them.

What is your favourite part of your role as Chief Engineer at AFTA?

My favourite part of the job is seeing an aircraft leave the hanger after a maintenance check and later see it take to the air. It is very satisfying to know you are playing an important role in ensuring the safety of our students, instructors and visitors by maintaining all aircraft, however I can’t take all of the credit myself. I am fortunate to have a great team here working alongside me in engineering. Everybody works closely together and they always go the extra mile to ensure the fleet is meticulously maintained and flying safe.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in aeronautical engineering?

For anyone looking for a very interesting , challenging and satisfying career in aviation, I can 100% recommend becoming an aircraft engineer. I’m 29 years in aviation, there is continuous learning and personal development throughout your career. Aircraft are changing and becoming more and more advanced all the time, this career never gets boring.

As an academy working with trainee pilots, what advice would you give them regarding aircraft maintenance?

For trainee pilots starting with the academy from a maintenance view , I believe the most important part before flying is a detailed pre-flight walk around. Never become complacent and keep safety to the forefront of your mind during your training. Take your time and ask for assistance, the engineering team are always here to help. As an aviator myself, I recognise how important this is to be aware of when you are training and throughout your career.

What is your favourite aircraft to service and why?

That is a tough question however I must say, I really enjoy maintaining our fleet of Cessnas 172. These are workhorses very reliable and straightforward to work on. They are ideal for a flying academy, I’m also really looking forward to working on our Diamond DA42 fleet in more detail.

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