Coachlines - February 2024

28.02.24 Freeman Patryk Nelkowski

Freeman Patryk Nelkowski becomes an aviation air-worthiness inspector

Since embarking on my aviation career as a licensed aircraft engineer becoming an under-35 Freeman of the Livery, achieving the status of a Light Aircraft Association (LAA) inspector stands out as a significant achievement in that aviation journey, writes Patryk Nelkowski.

When I received the Sir Sydney Camm scholarship in 2019 during my studies at Kingston University, I hadn’t even heard of the LAA. It was only after I had spent some time working in general aviation that I was made aware of the organisation’s existence and role within the UK. I quickly realised that most historic aircraft in the UK are governed by the LAA and after winning the Sir Victor Gauntlett award, I decided to pursue the inspector’s authorisation with the desire to work on these old machines.

Becoming an air-worthiness inspector involves a comprehensive induction process including a challenging written exam and a thorough interview in front of a panel of experts. Not only did this validate my own expertise and regulatory knowledge but also emphasised my unwavering commitment to safety. This process took a long and testing yet enjoyable day at the LAA headquarters in Turweston, Northamptonshire, I am now equipped with my personal authorisation, granting me the unique privilege to sign off on all fixed-wing light aircraft airframes and engines post-maintenance.

In this pivotal role, each inspection serves as a crucial link in the chain dedicated to ensuring safety and air-worthiness. Beyond the technical aspects, my responsibility extends to contributing to permit renewals, emphasising an ongoing commitment to preserving the integrity of every aircraft. This ensures that owners and operators can relish the joy of flight in an aircraft that is not only safe but also meticulously inspected. Given the diverse array of aircraft types on the LAA register, a profound understanding of aircraft intricacies is essential, underlining the dedication required to maintain high standards throughout the inspection process.

Freeman Patryk Nelkowski

Having the authority to influence the air-worthiness of various aircraft, I derive immense fulfilment from contributing to the safety and reliability of our flying machines. Each inspection becomes a testament to our collective commitment to making aviation accessible to everyone, fostering an environment where enthusiasts can enjoy the pleasure of flight in well-maintained and secure aircraft.

I can now usefully use the support I have previously received from the Coachmakers to actively help all light aircraft operations and the people involved, this is not only my personal success but it is also the success of the various support programmes offered by the Coachmakers’ Aerospace Sub-Committee. I hope I can assist any of Liverymen who may own or fly a light aircraft when they require maintenance to be carried out, you can find me in the Coachmakers’ online directory.