From model airplanes and gold mines to aviation - Anniversary interview with Phil

Annika Varis: Hello Philip! First I would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to interview you – 10 years in aviation is something to be proud of, and our readers are excited to hear about your experience, so let’s take off and start from the beginning.

How did you get involved in aviation?

Philip Pain: I have always had an interest in aviation – it started with collecting model aircraft in the mid-1950s, there were hundreds of them - all placed in my loft and shed. Something that started off as an interest and a wish to be able to fly. The dream came true when I had my first flight experience back in 1968 with my brother-in-law in a light a/c in South Africa. Time flew by, and ten years ago an employment agency sent me to MAC, and after realising it was an aviation company, I got very excited – it was the right time and the right place.   

AV: It’s so lovely to hear that dreams do come true. During your time in MAC have you been working in a lot of different departments?

PP: I started as a Cleaner / Driver in 2009, and since 2017 I am working as a Composite Fitter, where most of my focus goes on soft trimming. But over the years I have been a helping hand all over the shop floor.   

AV: Tell us more about your current job – what is soft trimming really about and what are the main tasks?

PP: It varies, from aircraft literature pockets to baby cradle covers to cradle bags and cushions for flame testing. We also develop cots and use the templates for our products. Soft trimming starts from designing and creating the drawings and then I use the sketch to cut the leather used to make aircraft literature pockets and baby cradle covers.    

AV: You do have golden hands – literature pockets and baby cradles produced in MAC Aero Interiors genuinely are a work of art! During these jobs in different departments, what is your best memory at MAC?

PP: I have to say that the trips to Ireland back when I was a driver. My main task was to deliver galley units to Shannon Airport in 2013. It was exciting to drive the van all the way there from London, I really enjoyed the sea journey and quick turnarounds. I remember that the ferry to Ireland was at 2 am, and we had to get back for the 6 am boat at Dublin. It meant driving across Ireland to Shannon Airport, deliver the goods safely, turn around and head back to catch the ferry. All together I did this three times and had my brother-in-law to join me on the second time and my wife for the third time to keep me company, but also to get the experience in visiting Ireland - absolutely fantastic country.

AV: So aviation is not just travelling and seeing new places using air transportation.  How would you define your time spent in MAC Aero Interiors overall?

PP: Interesting and fruitful. I like that when doing maintenance, there are lots of different tasks - fix the machine, set up the blades, and pull the packing cases. This all suits with my temperament, I like to be given a job, and I can get on with it right away, various tasks – I have spent a lovely time here.

AV: Would you say working at MAC Aero Interiors has changed your life in a better way? Why?

PP: Ah yes, definitely. Moving from South Africa to the UK that gave me the opportunity to work in the aviation industry has really been great. Over the years I haven't worked for many companies – started as a Fitter Machinist Apprentice, then 22 years as a Goldmine Surveyor, on to private business owner - automotive tooling systems and now in MAC Aero Interiors. I believe that developing internally in one company, doing what you know and working together with people that you know will get you the well-deserved recognition. I would really recommend working here!

AV: This really shows how loyal you are Phil and all I can say at the end of this interview that we are honoured to have a good role-model like you working with us. Thank you, Phil, for being the vital part of MAC Aero Interiors.