A good day is every day when a helicopter flies safely, says Jonathan Arceneaux
Bristow Aviation Maintenance Manager for the GOM Jonathan Arceneaux (on the left in the first row) poses with the AMTs at the SAR base in front of an SAR configured S-92 at the New Iberia base. These AMTs are part of a team that works a 24hr maintenance program. This team holds a high bar toward safety and attention to detail.
Some people are easy to please. For them, a good day is when helicopters leave and return safely, and they are happy.
For Bristow Aviation Maintenance Manager for the GOM Jonathan Arceneaux a good day is exactly that and he has been working for Bristow for 29 years and it never gets old for him. He enjoys everything about his job at Houma, Louisiana, and will often pitch in and wear many different hats to help get the job done, to include even serving as a lead aircraft maintenance technician (AMT) when needed when he worked at New Iberia for the SAR program.
“The sense of keeping the aircraft safe for flight, especially for our customers. The atmosphere we work in is very Target Zero, which that's one of our core values of safety comes first, no matter what. The lowest guy on the totem pole can call a safety stand down and it's well respected and it's one of the things I like,” he explains.
He started his career with Bristow as a sheet metal technician, then airframe and powerplant (A&P) , crew lead, hangar manager, and then Gulf Coast manager but sees himself as “a regular AMT, but I do other things. Wherever I'm needed, I go, and I love it. It's very relaxing.”
Over the years, his skills and knowledge have increased greatly. “I’ve gotten more knowledge, more educated, and it makes you more at ease and comfortable working on the aircraft because you know it but never complacent,” he explains. “My passion is just the gratitude of the helicopters leaving the ground safely, touching the ground safely and getting the job done.”
He says the most challenging aspect is troubleshooting electrical problems. “The new modern aircraft is all electronics. Back in the day, you had analog gauges, now everything is digital. So, the challenge is troubleshooting, but what's good about the Bristow team, and I say team, is because we all help each other. We all try to figure it out together, and then we overcome the challenges.”
He says there is close knit communication between AMTs, like, if a certain problem occurred and it was ongoing for three days or more, the word gets out on what it was, what was the fix for it. “We try to keep in contact with each other and let each other know as we fix these problems.”
He says the tool program ensures everything is safe. “We have a program to where when you're working on an aircraft, it will be inspected, you have to sign off on that all tools have been returned. We have a level five boxes here that keep inventory. Everything is shadowed. It's just all the checks and balances we have.”
Sometime AMTs will be hoisted down by the SAR crews to an aircraft if it has maintenance issues on an offshore platform. “Sometimes an aircraft can't land on the rig that the broke aircraft is on because there's not enough room. But there's occasions where us AMTs do get on the hoist and get hoisted down with our tools.”
He thinks the future is everything will go green eventually. “It seems to be everything is going green and maybe someday we’ll have a totally battery powered aircraft in the future.”
“In the 29 years I've been with Bristow, the challenges are almost seamless. And maybe one or two times, I've noticed that Bristow as a team will back up and say, wait let's look at this again, and then we overcome it, so that's what I like about that.”
“The teamwork, the integrity, the pride in your work, and the sense of safety. The integrity and the safety part of our core values, we want everybody to go home at night. That's starting out with the guys over here, working on the aircraft. That's the pilots, the customers and those core values are number one.”
The AMTs at Houma make it all happen seamlessly. He says there is close knit communication between AMTs, like, if a certain problem occurred and it was ongoing for three days or more, the word gets out on what it was, what was the fix for it.