Good evening to you all, FighterSweep Fans!! I am Ewen Menzies, a husband, father, and maintenance trainer in the United Kingdom. A big “thank you” is due to the team at Force 12 Media for affording me the opportunity to share with you my experiences in the world of aviation.
I come from a family with the tradition of service in the Royal Navy, which has left me with a passion for military aviation since childhood. I, as I am sure many of you did, burnt out my first copy of Top Gun! I remember my father taking me to my first airshow and I stared in wondered at the high-powered jets wheeling overhead.
From that moment on I was hooked! Done for. I had been bitten by the bug and, as we all know, there is no getting rid of it. I spent the rest of my childhood with my nose either pressed against an airport security fence or stuck in an aviation-themed book. Strangely, for a Brit, I had a particular interest in U.S. Naval Aviation.
Of course I wanted to be a pilot myself, but that was not in the cards for me. Instead, I took myself off to aircraft engineering school and became a licensed engineer instead. Since 1998, I have worked for a regional airline based in the United Kingdom as an engineer, both inspecting and maintaining passenger-carrying aircraft of varying sizes. Not much beats the feeling of releasing an aircraft back into service knowing you have found and fixed a potentially dangerous defect.
It’s an amazing job which has given me some unique experiences and opportunities. I have had the privilege of traveling around the world and meeting all manner of fantastic people. My company has had a long-running contract providing training for a U.S.-based airline and I have been lucky enough to visit several areas in the States.
I am currently a trainer for the airline, teaching people about various aircraft types–how they function under specific conditions and how to properly maintain them. I also deliver ad hoc courses to external customers; in fact, I’m about to provide some fuel tank safety training to the Royal Air Force! That said, I still like to keep my hand in with the practical stuff and can be found in the hangar from time to time twirling a spanner or two!
I have a particular interest in historical aviation, which I hope to dip into alongside current topics in the field. I strongly believe the sacrifices made by those that went before us should never be allowed to fade from memory, so keep a look out for an upcoming article on my personal heroes – the Tuskegee Airmen.
In my spare time, I volunteer for a waterborne Search-and-Rescue team, bouncing around the coast in all manner of crabby weather! This has had an incredibly positive effect on my life and has provided opportunities to work with other agencies–such as Police, Fire service and the Coast Guard. In fact, just this summer I was afforded the opportunity to work with the Royal Navy as they winched me in and out of our boat with one of their Sea King helicopters. Yes, that is me dangling aimlessly below 14,000 pounds of helicopter!
This is a special community and I feel proud to be part of it. I aim to bring a variety of articles to the site, including aircraft profiles, biographies of legendary aviators, and tales of peril and the heroism such situations can bring out of ordinary people. I will also be contributing technical perspective on design and maintenance-related subjects.
So, greetings from “across the pond” and here’s hoping this limey can entertain you with his offerings.