Bobby is pictured above with a gearbox in process of being completely torn down before the entire unit goes through cleaning and on to inspection ahead of being reassembled and sent to the test cell.
A 29-year veteran at Mint Turbines, Bobby Dickinson started in our shop with tear down and cleaning work before moving into his current role as the Senior Reduction Gearbox Technician. His career has taken him all over the world, but these days he spends most of his time in the shop working on gearboxes. Learn more about Bobby with our Q&A below!
How did you get started in aerospace and at Mint Turbines?
When I started in 1994, the company was called Consolidated Heliflight. I knew the owner at the time and called him to ask about coming to work here. The next thing I knew, I was here and have stayed with Mint Turbines for 29 years. I’m the oldest person out on the floor and have the most seniority. That just means the guys like to make fun of me!
I started with the tear down and cleaning and ultimately moved into the senior technician role. I’ve been all over the world fixing these gearboxes on helicopters. I’ve also done light machine work and a variety of other things. I can also operate the Pratt Whitney Test Cell.
What are some of the exciting places your work has taken you over the years?
I’ve been to Papua New Guinea three times, Africa twice, Canada, Spain, Korea, Venezuela, Trinidad, Tobago and many other places.
What does your day look like at Mint Turbines?
These days I do very little travel and spend most of my time working in the shop. I mainly work on the gearboxes which I really enjoy. They can be very challenging to get through the Test Cell sometimes, but I enjoy the challenge. I’ve been doing this a long time.
What are some of the most memorable projects you’ve worked with Mint Turbines?
I worked with a company developing PMA parts – an aftermarket part for a Pratt & Whitney engine. It was something I had never been involved with before and all the details to build it were very interesting.
Additionally, a few years ago, I was in Nigeria working on a helicopter that was on a humanitarian mission to deliver food, water, fuel and supplies to those in need.
What has kept you at Mint Turbines for 29 years?
We have a really good group of people working here. I’ve been here the longest, but we have another one or two who have also been here more than 20 years. We’re all well-rounded and work well together. We’re always picking on each other, which helps break the tedious nature of our work. It makes for a good work environment when you get along with your coworkers.
Also, I’ve met people from all over the world and still keep in touch with my customers often. I like what I do and it’s close to home. I really enjoy the gearboxes. It’s been a very enjoyable ride so far.
What are you doing when you’re not at work?
If you ask my wife, she’ll say anything I can do to get out of doing work around the house! I really like to fish and hunt; I got a decent 7-point buck this season. A funny story about hunting, my wife and daughter did not like deer meat, so I cooked hamburgers one night without telling them it was deer meat. They both ate them and said it was the best hamburger they’d eaten. They weren’t very happy when I told them it was deer meat. Now, my daughter hunts more than I do!