Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Aviation Academy

Tessa Harmens as Powerplant Engineer CFM56-7B @ AFI KLM

Posted at: 5 Mar 2021 | Faculty of Technology

In 2018, Tessa graduated from the Flight Operations Engineering track. After that, Tessa has been working at AFI KLM. First as a Technical Data Administrator and currently as a Powerplant Engineer CFM56-7B. She will tell us something about her experiences after graduation and her outlook on the future.

If this isn’t your first job since graduation: what were your other jobs at which companies?

Before I was a Powerplant Engineer, I worked as a Technical Data Administrator at KLM Engine Services.
I did my graduate internship at KLM E&M. For my thesis, I did a research project for the department of Engine Data Administration at KLM Engine Services. Here I was happy to accept a job offer to stay as Engine Data Administrator even before I finished graduating.

When a customer sends an aircraft-engine to KLM for servicing they must also send a data package for all technical information regarding the engine. As Administrator I was responsible for doing quality checks on this data and also to write and manage the data in the KLM software systems used for MRO.

Even though I knew I eventually wanted to be an Engineer, I was happy with this job as an opportunity to learn more about the processes and other departments at KLM ES. Working with technical data and the software systems used for engine MRO equipped me with valuable background knowledge I still use in my current job every day.

How did you get your current job?

When one of the Powerplant Engineers retired, I decided to apply for the job opening that became available in the Engineering team. This department is across the hall from the Engine Data department. Because I already worked in the building, I knew the processes, all departments and the Engineers. This, combined with my Bachelor diploma in Engineering, made me the preferred candidate and I was offered the job.

What are your daily operations?

As part of the Type Engineering team for the CFM56-7B engine it is my responsibility to provide the work scopes and technical support for this type of engine when it is serviced at KLM Engine Services. Engines from KLM as well as from other operators/owners come in to get anything from a single test run to complete overhauls. Part of my job is to determine the work scopes and carry this out to the mechanics in the workshop. I also provide technical support for the customer while the engine is in the shop. On a daily basis, I monitor the progress with the mechanics working on ‘my’ engines and I have to address and solve any technical issues that come up during the shop visit. Some days I need to be in the workshop a lot and some days I have to sit behind my desk to do meetings, manual or data research, or writing reports.

Next to engines in the shop there are a number of engineering projects that the Engineering department is working on. I am also part of a few, for example, as key user for software developments and as implementation engineer of new inspection systems.

What do you like the most at your job?

What I like most is the amount of variation and challenges that come with this job. I like doing different projects to improve processes and systems, but my favorite part is to be in the workshop. I like talking to all the people working on the engines and seeing the engines being disassembled, repaired and assembled. I like to learn about all the individual parts and solving the technical issues during a shop visit.

Sometimes we have to dig through manuals and other times we have to put our heads together with engineers, mechanics and other departments to come up with the best solutions. Every day is different.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

For now, I am content with where I am. I enjoy myself with my colleagues and I learn a lot every day. If I am still in this job 5 years from now this will probably still be the case, because there is so much to do and learn. I wanted to be a Powerplant engineer so for now I am happy and don’t see myself anywhere else in 5 years. But of course, you never know what opportunities lie ahead.

What did you like the most from your education that helps you out nowadays in your work?
In the 2nd year of Aviation Studies, I first was acquainted with gas turbines as a subject. That sparked my interest, and I knew I wanted to learn more about jet engines. The 2nd year gas turbine classes and the gas turbine minor made me decide that I definitely wanted to work with gas turbine engines. These classes gave me the basic understanding of what I work with today.

Are you still connected with the Aviation Academy?

Since I started working, I have had the pleasure of being the company supervisor for several students from the Aviation Academy during their internships at KLM ES. Currently I am company supervisor for a graduate intern for a project about performance predictions.
I like developing such projects and helping students with their research and thesis. I know what it’s like to be an intern at KLM and enjoy connecting with students and showing them around at Schiphol Oost.