What’s that you’re doing, Mr. Ponader?

© Gregor Schläger/LH Technik

Maximilian Ponader, 20,

apprentice aircraft mechanic/engine specialist

has been with Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg for three years


What’s that you’re doing, Mr. Ponader? “I’m checking an engine’s stator blades for damage. What’s a stator? It’s the rotor’s counterpart, you might say: In front of every mobile sprocket with rotor blades, there’s a rigid sprocket with stator blades inside the engine housing. Its job is to ensure that the airflow meets the rotor at the optimum angle. The engine’s high-pressure compressor alone has as many as 14 stator sprockets. Each of these sprockets has between 40 and 100 blades, and I am checking each blade with a mirror and a flashlight. You see, tiny pebbles are sometimes drawn into the engine during takeoff and landing, and they can damage the blades. Minor scratches are not a problem, but I do have to replace any blades showing larger cracks or dents. Most of the blades are in perfect condition. All the same, the greatest challenge in this job is staying focused so that even after three hours, sI don’t miss any damage in the last stator sprocket.