Into the Craft with Dennis Mikuletic and Ryan Defty

October 23, 2019

Repair Shop Component Technicians, Dennis Mikuletic and Ryan Defty tell us about the finer points of landing gear overhaul, learning from the legends and their favourite planes.

Describe KF’s component overhaul shop.

RYAN: “We repair and overhaul aircraft components: mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical, single and multi-disk brakes, wheels, emergency and main batteries.”

DENNIS: “We’re part of the overall vision of the KF ‘One Stop Shop’. By providing this service in-house, we offer the customer competitive turn-around times. They don’t have to send a component out to Florida, for example, to get evaluated and repaired. We have really good communication with our customers, and it builds their trust in KF.”

What are you working on in this picture?

RYAN: “I’m measuring the internal thread pitch diameter on a Hercules C130 Main Landing Gear Outer Cylinder.” This procedure is measuring the functional diameter of the thread.”

DENNIS: “Here I’m measuring the outer diameter of the inner bearing of the Hercules Main Landing Gear Torque Strut. I’m checking if it’s still within the serviceable dimensional limits per the technical manual. This procedure is ensuring the Fits and Clearances are within the required limits.”

What led you to this role?

DENNIS: “When I started at KF 15 years ago, I had the previous mechanical experience but as far as aviation—none whatsoever. I started doing wheels, B727 brakes and general shop cleaning—learning on the job. There’s no formal training program for the component shop like there is for AME’s. Everything is learned through the OEM manuals. Our Senior Techs and Inspectors provide a lot of guidance in these areas.”

“You have to be intuitive and detail-oriented—and if you’re ever unsure there are lots of experts here to bounce ideas off.”

RYAN: “I had been installing irrigation systems in Vernon before being hired at KF in 2003. I started in the Paint Department with prep and painting for nearly 10 years, then decided I wanted a change. It was all hands-on training for the component shop and I completed an ICS course for the AME apprenticeship.”

“KF Component Technician, Adrian has been a huge help, and now I’m training with Dennis. He’s been doing it for so long. He’s kind of like my CMM (Component Maintenance Manual)—when I can’t find something in the manual I go to Dennis for direction.”

Best part of your job?

RYAN: “I really enjoyed doing wheels. It’s the first thing on the ground and the last thing off the ground. Now I’m enjoying the challenge of inspection and testing of more complex components.”

DENNIS: “I’m just a mechanical type of guy, this is right up my alley. I love the challenge of it. Often we’re dealing with components that were designed in the mid-50’s and sometimes the drawings can be hard to read. As these components age, we get to deal with new and different problems. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a new one crops up!”

Your favourite aircraft?

RYAN: “I like the Hercules C130s. They’re big and bulky, kind of like me!”

DENNIS: “I really like the Convair. It’s got a nice shape to it—I think it’s kind of sexy! And then the Hercules, for its brute history. It’s the do-all of the airplanes.”