Five Minutes With

Eden O’Brien

Aerospace Armament Engineer

Haley O'Brien Aerospace Armament Engineer, working with some explosives
What is your job/profession?

Aerospace Armament Engineer in the Royal Australian Air Force.

I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

How did you get interested in engineering?

When I was in high school, I would hang out at my local flying school and the aircraft maintenance workshop. I would observe and help to maintain the light aircraft.

I wanted to be a pilot, however my mum suggested I study engineering.

What does an average day as an engineer involve?

The average day varies for different engineers.

The morning might start with a meeting to discuss a new project or progress on an existing project. I might then need to do a site visit to learn more about the problem and to speak with the client about what issues they are having. The client might know what type of solution they want.

Back at my office I will then research the problem further. I need to make sure I have all the right information to develop the solution and that it meets set regulations and standards. I will start writing the report for the proposed solution and may also need to do some drawings and calculations to explain and support the solution.

What's the coolest thing about your work?

I get to work with cutting-edge technology, including advanced weapon systems on aircraft.

The coolest thing I have done at work is learning how to (safely) dispose of a bomb. We blow it up!

Loading armaments Loading armaments
What is the most challenging thing about your work?

The most challenging thing about my work is trying to solve a problem when the best solution is not the most achievable solution. Sometimes you have limitations to work with such as money, time or the number of people available to complete the task. 

What education or skills are needed to do be an engineer?

Engineers have great problem-solving skills.

Maths and science aptitude is important to be accepted into a university engineering degree.

Haley O'Brien Medal Ceremony Eden, in dress uniform, receiving an award
What inspires you?

People solving problems with new innovative thinking and/or technology.

When you’re not at work what do you like to do?

When I’m not at work, I love to spend time with my family.

I really enjoy sewing and baking. 

What advice can you give to aspiring engineers?

Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. The best engineers are those that question everything. How can we make this better, simpler, faster, stronger, cheaper?

Being an engineer is like having a super power; where you can directly impact people’s lives and the world we live in. With your awesome engineering skills, you could develop solutions to secure access to clean drinking water to these in third-world nations, you could create a renewable energy technology or work on upgrades to the international space station. The possibilities are endless!

Thanks for chatting with us Eden!