What’s that you’re doing, Ms. Wienciers? 

© Gregor Schläger/LH Technik

Denise Wienciers, 19,

apprentice aircraft mechanic

has been with Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg for two years


“I’m learning how to repair damage to the fuselage. Aluminum strips called stringers and frames run lengthwise and crosswise beneath the outer shell to reinforce it. Just like the shell, these strips can become dented, like when a baggage cart bumps into the plane during loading.I’ve just replaced a damaged stringer and now I’m fixing it in place temporarily with screw clamps. I would normally repair the outer shell first by cutting out the damaged part and riveting a specially made patch to the spot, but I’m not working on a real airplane; this is a fuselage mock-up that lets me practice each step of a repair before moving on to the real thing. Once the stringer is tem­porarily attached, I rivet it permanently into place. Don’t worry, I know exactly what I’m doing. Even so, I am a bit nervous about being assigned to regular repairs soon. Luckily, I will have an expe­rienced coworker looking over my shoulder in the beginning.”