Responsible Craftsman: Honoring Aircraft Inspection and Maintenance Engineers with Perseverance and Dedication

They are known as “aircraft doctors”. They are on the front lines to ensure the safe operation of the aircraft and the comfort of the passengers. Behind their exquisite skills is countless days and nights of dedication and protection, and they are the inspection and maintenance engineers.

“Responsibility is the top priority for aircraft maintenance”

Zhihui Li, currently an Engineer of Aviation Maintenance Engineering Department, Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited, has 12 years of experience in aircraft maintenance. After graduating from Fujian Institute of Technology in 2008, he joined Taikoo Aircraft Engineering Co., Ltd. to engage in aircraft inspection and maintenance. In 2018, he came to Hong Kong and became a member of Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited. In the past 12 years, he started as a first-line aircraft overhaul mechanic, experienced multiple positions such as technician, field engineer, engineering technical management engineer, etc., and has grown to become a leading figure in aviation maintenance in Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Limited and even in the whole of China and the world today. Through years of front-line practical experience and solid theoretical foundation, Zhihui Li was awarded the Civil Aircraft Maintenance Engineer license by the five Civil Aviation Authorities (the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the Civil Aviation Authority of United Kingdom, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Netherlands, the Civil Aviation Department (Hong Kong), and Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore). It is not easy, but it is the result of years of perseverance and tireless technological innovation.

Talking about aircraft inspection and maintenance work, Zhihui Li said, “Responsibility is the first priority of aircraft inspection and maintenance.” Whenever he recalls his career in inspection and maintenance, the most memorable thing for him is his experience in the year he first joined; “At that time, I had just joined the company for three months. One time there was a problem with an aircraft and we needed to solve it urgently. The only people on duty that day were the workshop supervisor and me. The workload was not large, but the fault diagnosis was a very difficult task.” The workshop supervisor took him for troubleshooting all night, and finally found the problem at six o’clock in the morning the next day, and completed the troubleshooting. As he finished his work and sorted out the maintenance tools, he found that the master had fallen asleep on the bulkhead.” When I saw the sun rising from the end of the runway and the first rays of the morning sun hitting the hatch, with master’s tired body behind me and the sunrise in front of me, I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I thought that this plane would be released from my hands normally, and I really felt the responsibility of being an aircraft inspection and maintenance engineer”.

“Reliability, a very important feature of aircraft inspection and maintenance”

Aircraft inspection and maintenance work has three major characteristics: airworthiness, reliability, and comfort. Reliability is a very important feature of aircraft inspection and maintenance. Aiming at the reliability of aircraft inspection and maintenance, Zhihui Li has developed a complete aircraft integrated management system, Big Data-based Integrated Health Management System for Aircraft. This technology can effectively solve the problem of distributed aviation data management and promote the application of big data in the field of aircraft health management. In addition, each data center in the entire system architecture is distributed across all aspects of aviation safety, playing a role in the overall management of aviation data that supports aircraft health. What is more, it also effectively solves the problem of using dispersed and large scale aviation data for aircraft health management and provides a viable way to apply big data technology in the aviation sector.

Since the technology has been put into use, leading international civil aircraft manufacturers have introduced this aircraft health management system, which collects real-time aircraft status information, provides timely access to the health status of the aircraft, and effectively manages the health status of the aircraft throughout its life cycle. At present, the “Big Data-based Integrated Health Management System for Aircraft” proposed by Mr. Zhihui Li has been fully recognized, promoted and applied in the industrial circles and research institutions of major aviation developed countries in the United States and Europe, and is moving towards a more comprehensive, standardized and intelligent direction.

“Innovation, a key foundation for sustainable development of aircraft inspection and maintenance”

“In the era of big data, improving the level of health management technology research and services can better provide global services and lifecycle service solutions for international large passenger aircraft, so as to achieve the goal of highly digital, networked, integrated, real-time and intelligent operational support services.” This is the remarks made by Mr. Zhihui Li at an international civil aviation technology seminar. Over the years, he has been adhering to the concept of safety-oriented, scientific and innovative, and created one miracle after another for the international civil aviation inspection and maintenance industry; In the words of Zhihui Li, “Technological innovation is to better solve problems. If you can’t apply what you have learned, how can the international civil aviation industry develop?” He really did it! Mr. Zhihui Li’s “Big Data-based Integrated Health Management System for Aircraft” has solved a century-old problem for Russian Airlines; Due to Russia’s high latitude and perennial influence of Siberian air currents, the climate is cold; In order to deal with the problem of aircraft failure caused by the severe winter in Russia, the Russian Aviation Maintenance Engineering Department has spent a lot of time and effort on researching solutions; The Russian aviation maintenance engineers are very distressed when faced with the false fault signals of electronic equipment caused by the low temperature of the early flight, and the leakage of nitrogen from the landing gear shock absorber.

At the 2019 International Aviation Technology Seminar, Aeroflot CEO Mr. Vitali Shaviliev and Mr. Zhihui Li signed a cooperation agreement. Aeroflot successfully cited the “Big Data-based Integrated Health Management System for Aircraft”; It is reported that since the introduction of this technology at Aeroflot, the fleet of the Russian Aviation Maintenance Engineering Department has grown from 16 to 42 aircraft. In addition, its safety situation is stable and the quality of operations is improving year by year, with the rate of 1,000 delays due to mechanical causes decreasing from 5.4 per cent to 1.3 per cent; It effectively ensures the normal and safe operation of the aircraft, while greatly improving the safety of Russian aviation, bringing great economic and social benefits to Russian airlines.

Aviation safety is no small matter, sticking to responsibility is the key; Mr. Zhihui Li has made great contributions to the steady development of the international aviation industry with his rigorous and meticulous working attitude, his down-to-earth work style attitude and his constant pioneering and innovative thinking. 

Reporter: Ziyang Xie

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