Karen Houlahan has been working for Transport Canada as a Civil Aviation Safety Inspector (TI) in Civil Aviation Safety Inspector, Airworthiness for 26 years. She says:
I was an aircraft maintenance engineer (AME) in the aviation industry with experience on both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. An AME licence is required for my job at Transport Canada. I also worked as a maintenance supervisor in the industry before applying for the inspector position at Transport Canada.
There are several types of TIs for each mode of transport. For inspectors like Karen, the main duties include issuing, reviewing, suspending or cancelling various aviation organization certificates such as Maintenance Organizations and AME Training Organizations and AME licences, we are an integral part of approving Air Operators ensuring their maintenance is properly control and implemented and processing flight clearances. However, a big part of the job is also dealing with the unexpected.
The work week is not exactly routine. She explains:
I’d say there’s really no such thing as a typical work week. Each week is a combination of some or all of the above, but can also include answering questions from the general public, reviewing and commenting on internal documents, or attending meetings that may be called at the last minute.
She has many motivations, chief among them being safety:
I believe everyone has the right to fly on aircraft that are properly maintained in accordance with the regulations. We call these aircraft “airworthy” or “fit and safe for flight” .
Karen is an expert in the field—her role is vital to our air operations. Thank you, Karen, for keeping Canadians safe every day.