In the beginning of 2019, I worked on a project for in the hangars of KLM. The challenge was to find a solution to give mechanics insights in the progress of their tasks. This was needed to have the ability to keep track of the estimated time of delivery. In other words, will the aircraft be on time ready to go in operation?
Together with two designer colleagues, we decided to put on our blue overalls and safety boots and find out how the day of a mechanic looks like. We wanted to do this because we needed to investigate the root cause of a delayed airplane.
A mechanic doesn’t work office hours, so my day started at 15:00 and ended 23:30. Each of us started shadowing a different mechanic and wherever possible we helped them out. Of course, we only got very basic tasks like greasing bolts against rust. And I fixed an armrest in the business class!
This research was very interesting to do and gave us many insights. In the long-term, having this knowledge is very useful too. You get to know the mechanic in a personal way, how they behave and what situations they run into.