What’s that you’re doing, Ms. Knopp?

What's that you're doing, Ms. Knopp?
© Oliver Roesler

Alexandra Knopp, 44,

aviation technician

has been with Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg for 7 years


“I’m assembling an integrated drive generator (IDG) for an Airbus A320. There’s one of these on every engine and they function a little bit like a bicycle dynamo in that they transform kinetic energy into electricity for on-board systems from the autopilot to the air conditioning to the coffee machines. The wave that transfers the energy from the engine to the IDG achieves an incredible 24 000 revolutions per minute. So it’s only logical that the components eventually suffer wear and tear. This is why we overhaul the IDG on a regular basis. My colleagues disassemble it and clean each individual component. Then it’s my turn: I check each one, replacing it or repairing it as needed before putting an IDG back together again. This job requires the highest precision because it involves countless small parts like screws, springs, pistons and valves. It takes me 22 hours to assemble the IDG and test it thoroughly to make sure everything is working properly.”