Interview with ARTS Project Manager at Diehl Aviation

Interview with ARTS Project Manager at Diehl Aviation

When ARTS employees talk about their careers, it gets exciting. Numerous professional fields offer a wide range of career opportunities and a challenging working environment. In this blog article a colleague reports on his way to ARTS and his work at Diehl Aviation Gilching GmbH.

From the solar industry to aviation

What did you do before ARTS?

Aviation has always fascinated me. It all started in the early 90s, when my father and I regularly picked up my mother at the airport for a while. There you had the opportunity to watch planes from a visitor platform and smell the smell of burned kerosene. So my dream developed to become a pilot. However, you had to finance your training as a commercial pilot yourself, so later I didn’t end up in the cockpit of a scheduled flight, but found my place with a very innovative company in the field of renewable energies, Bayer Solar GmbH. I completed my apprenticeship as a process mechanic in the metallurgical and semi-finished products industries and then decided on a dual course of study in the field of industrial engineering. Even after graduating, I remained true to my practical work, developed from a production employee to a divisional manager of a production section, and became increasingly involved in the continuous improvement of production processes and cost-cutting projects. At that time, the solar industry flourished and I grew and developed with the company. In 2017 the later Solarworld had to file for insolvency and after 19 years in the solar industry in Freiberg I moved to aviation in Dresden.

Working as a project manager for development projects

Diehl Aviation Gilching GmbH mainly develops equipment for aircraft on behalf of large OEMs such as Airbus, Boeing, Gulfstream and Embraer. The development mainly concerns devices in the field of kitchen equipment as well as waste water and fresh water systems. At our customer Diehl  ARTS employees are deployed throughout Europe.

Did you have to overcome many difficulties in the beginning?

In the beginning, I had to master a few challenges as a lateral entrant. For example, it was incomprehensible to me how you could develop small things for three years. Even the smallest design adjustments have to be tested many times. I quickly learned how many guidelines have to be observed in aviation. The numerous certifications and tests, however, justify the long development time. Reliability and safety are the top priorities in aviation and in our development projects.

And what exactly are your tasks at Diehl?

As a project manager, I have both a responsible and a varied job. I am currently working with my teams on four development projects in the Airbus A350 program and another project for the new Boeing 777x. On average, the team size consists of 5 to 6 specialists from different areas of our development department. The goals in the various projects are very similar. In addition to meeting our time and cost targets, we also strive to provide our customers with innovative and mature products that contribute to even more efficient aircraft. The goals are to reduce the costs and weight of the fresh and waste water tanks. Cost reduction projects were also an important part of my work in the solar industry, and therefore no new terrain for me. Further tasks are, of course, project, time and budget planning. The aim of my work is to reach the milestones with my project team.

In the meantime, our colleague took over a project that was a completely new development and already relatively far advanced. It was about lightweight toilets to reduce the overall weight of the aircraft.

The temporary management of this project was a big challenge for me as a “newcomer”, because it was a complete new development and a very extensive project, which I took over in the middle as a representative. But here, too, I have grown with my tasks and was able to gain a lot of experience in the implementation of development projects in aviation in a very short time. Even today, after almost a year in the aviation industry, I am broadening my horizons every day, gaining new experience and constantly learning new things.

Have you ever regretted the change of industry?

No. I’m glad that I made it into ARTS and Diehl, because I learned a lot from my work, was able to grow beyond myself and, to be honest, after the insolvency of my last employer, I would not have dreamed of working with Airbus or Boeing today. This makes me proud and shows me that I have chosen the right path, even though it was initially a greater challenge than I had imagined. But there is still something magical about aviation for me that I would like to continue to be a part of.