An RAF Lossiemouth engineer who ensures Typhoons are ready to protect UK and Nato airspace from Vladimir Putin’s pilots has said the pressure brings the best out in him.
The 26-year-old is nicknamed Mitch and that is the only name we can use here for security reasons.
He has served in the RAF for around four and a half years.
He admits when he first started it was daunting, however he has learned how to cope with the high pressure and physical demands of a 50-hour work week.
In an insightful interview with the Press and Journal, he describes what the job is like.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the RAF has stepped up its preparation in case the war escalates.
Mitch says being called to go to countries such as Estonia at short notice to look after aircraft keeps him on his toes.
He said: “Reacting to the invasion for the initial six months, everything was into the top gear and now everything has slowed down in Cyprus and at home.
“There is still air policing in Estonia which the RAF have been committed to for a decade.”
Mitch said: “There is always pressure, when it comes preparing a jet, every jet in the RAF has a date or time against it with a mission and activity in mind.
“I think everyone performs well under pressure.
“Having the deadline means I have to find the best way to meet it and it tests myself.”
The Press and Journal asked Mitch about staying focused when carrying out important work to get the Typhoons up in the sky.
He replied: “The discipline to keep these jets airworthy is instilled in you. It’s not only a morale obligation for the RAF – there is also a legal one.”
As a youngster he always wanted to follow in the footsteps of his grandad who worked as a engineer.
He explained: “I’m the first person in my family to serve.
“My grandad Ian was an engineer who started off as a car mechanic when he left school, working his way up and retired at 66 which is a fair shift.
“I always wanted to pursue engineering to be like my grandad and remember seeing the Tornado flyby and I thought I bet it would be mint to work for the RAF.
“Not many people can say they get to do a wheel change on a Typhoon compared to a wheel change of a Vauxhall Corsa, which is unique.”
Physical challenges of an RAF engineer
He added: “It was daunting at first with the pace of life in the squadron.
“In total during a week, it is roughly 50 hour work week.
“Everyone else on civvy street would be working around 30 to 39 hours so we have 10 hours above them.
“I remember when I first showed up, I discovered how physically demanding the job was as well with heavy lifting and the brute force you need to get through it.”
Despite the challenges of job, he says no-one goes to work expecting glory, they just do what is required.
Mitch added: “The main thing is to know your limits and know when to take time off.
“Also not making everything about work and keeping up personal fitness is key.
“There are also opportunities to work on Quick Reaction Alert duties and other jobs which gives you breaks from regular fixing aircraft.”
“We all have a job to do and don’t expect pats on the back for it.”
Top Guns: Inside the RAF six-part TV series will start on Channel 4 on Monday at 9pm.