What’s that you’re doing, Mr. Ulrich?

What's that you're doing, Mr. Ulrich?
© Jan Brandes/LH Technik

Mike Ulrich, 57,

aviation technician

has worked since 1991 at Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg.


I’m in the cockpit of an Airbus A320, checking to see that the emergency generator is working properly. And I’m doing this at a time when most people are fast asleep in their beds. But not here at LHT headquarters! Aircraft are in constant operation during the day and don’t usually land for the night until about 9 p.m., so that’s when I and the rest of the night shift get going. We check every single aircraft, and every seven days, we perform the more extensive S check, which involves going into the cockpit, checking the error messages and running various test programs. Then I check the cabin before taking a look at the plane from the outside. Is the wear on the brakes and the tires okay? Are there any leaks or loose wires in the wheel wells? Cracks or dents in the fan blades? We always find something and we’re working against the clock because we have to finish by 4:30 a.m. at the latest. After some final tests, a coworker approves the plane so it’s ready for takeoff again at 6 a.m.