Home-grown NDT Expert

An aircraft is an extremely complex system made up of more than a million parts and components. Even a minor problem within the system could potentially lead to an incident. Non-destructive testing (NDT) is a way to detect and evaluate flaws in materials and is an important way of ensuring the structural integrity and airworthiness of an aircraft during the design, manufacture, and maintenance stages. HAECO is proud to have our own team of NDT experts to safeguard the airworthiness of aircraft that undergo maintenance at our facilities. One of the key figures is Lei Yue, Vice President – NDT Service Centre at HAECO Xiamen, who is one of the leading NDT experts on the Chinese Mainland as well as a pioneer and an advocate of the wider application of new inspection technologies.


Lei graduated from university in 1998, majoring in physics and electronic technology. The aircraft engineering industry was booming at that time, and Lei was intrigued by this fascinating sector, which also happened to match his qualifications and aspirations. “I did have a difficult choice to make about which aviation company to join after graduation – but HAECO Xiamen stood out. HAECO had a definite advantage with its capability on a wide range of aircraft, comprehensive range of services, and international clientele. It gave me a wider platform for career development as I started out.”


HAECO’s training programmes offered Lei numerous opportunities to go abroad and learn from overseas experts in aircraft engineering. He has had ample access to advanced aviation knowledge, professional skills, and inspection equipment, which has been crucial to his career development. NDT requires comprehensive knowledge of aircraft engineering, and Lei, through his various training opportunities, now holds the highest qualifications from the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the European Aviation Safety Agency, and the US Federal Aviation Administration.


When asked about what NDT engineers do, Lei offers a concise simile: they are like aircraft doctors. “We conduct different tests and analysis, including radiography, magnetic particle and infrared thermography to identify structural problems that may not be visible to the naked eye. A loose screw or a crack ten times thinner than a human hair could pose a major safety risk to an aircraft. The most challenging part of our work is to achieve a 100% detection rate. To excel, one has to be analytical, detail-minded, resilient and enjoy problem-solving. As technology is constantly evolving, we also need to ensure that we stay abreast of the very latest developments.”


Lei is very proud to have played a role in the development of NDT standards for the aviation and aerospace sectors on the Chinese Mainland: “My team took part in an NDT project to develop a more feasible scheme to ensure continuous airworthiness for the Chinese aviation industry. During its research and development phase, a lot of work was required in terms of manual preparation, experimental data sampling and analysis, as well as manual verification.”


As with so many HAECO employees who value teamwork, Lei also enjoys passing on his experience to up-and-coming trainee technicians and sees it as a means of contributing to the future of the aviation industry. He has words of wisdom for those who are considering a career in aircraft engineering: “Aircraft maintenance certainly has a very low margin for error, so one must cope with pressure at work. To me, time management is crucial. It is my practice to prioritise tasks and start with more important and pressing ones. I also focus on improving myself and my team’s capabilities, as I know our stress levels will naturally reduce once we master our work. It is also important to maintain a great relationship and communicate well with my colleagues, so I can seek their assistance when I am under pressure. Excellence is one of the key HAECO values to embrace and it will bring you more opportunities for growth and promotion. Keep learning and sharpening your skills, and you will stand out from the crowd.”