Reliability and Commitment Critical for Mechanic

Being stationed in the Philippines is focused, yet satisfying work.

By Jennifer Ferrero, APR, DTM

Chris Duncan, field mechanic for Erickson Incorporated, has been working for the company since 2012. He claims above all he values reliability, “I’ve never missed a shift,” he said. While Duncan has been to some exciting places, he said that working in different countries to maintain aircraft is a lot like a military deployment. He is currently stationed at Edwin Andrews Air Base which is in Zamboanga, Philippines.

“You aren’t a tourist,” he said when describing life living on an air force base, or aircraft maintenance facility. He described being gone from his wife and six children for six weeks at a time, and then home for six weeks, “You count the days down until you come back home,” he said. With six boys, the oldest being 21 and the youngest being three, he said it can be hard on his wife.

But Duncan, who trained as a mechanic at Clover Park Community College (Lakewood, Wash.), is doing work that he loves. It is business-critical for him to solve problems for pilots while working in fleet management on the Bell Helicopter 214STs within Erickson’s Defense and National Security division. He said his main job is to maintain a safe and productive aircraft for pilots to fly.

One of the more stressful roles in his job is to leave the base to fix aircraft that have had to land off-site. “You might be in a hostile area and you have to deal with that while organizing a repair – it’s challenging,” he said. He added, “Once the aircraft is back on base, you can fix it; but it is more intense when it is off-base.”

While Duncan spends most of his time working when in the Philippines, he said they have fun as well with BBQ’s, watching movies, and working out in the on-site gym. He also added there have been some additional restrictions with coronavirus and they take precautions when interacting with others.

Duncan said he works hard, and the work is 24/7, “When you get a knock on the door, you get up and go.” He said he sees a lot of airports in his work and his role is to spend time on preventative maintenance, “The environment in the Philippines causes lots of corrosion with the salt water,” so he works on keeping everything clean.