Meet the People Behind the Technology

SVEINUNG, THE FARMER AND F-35 AVIATION MECHANIC

It’s an early afternoon in March and we're outside of Kongsberg Aviation Maintenance Services’ (KAMS) new facilitiy at Rygge – Norway’s first and only F-135 depot hall. In the office-cafeteria we meet Sveinung Biltvedt, a 36-year-old aviation mechanic with more than sixteen years of experience in his field.

  • Text:Helene Strøm Bergset

    Photo:Njål Frilseth

You’re an Aviation Mechanic who works on military fighter jets. Are you allowed to tell us anything about what you do?

«Yeah, of course,” he says happily.

“I wear a lot of different hats here at KAMS, but my main task is to be a team leader for the F-100 test cell. The F-100 is an afterburning turbofan engine manufactured by Pratt & Whitney that powers the F-16 Fighting Falcon. I am also a part of the F-135 test cell. That’s basically what I do here,» he says.

Test cell? What is that and can you elaborate?

“A test cell is simply something you must have in order to test the engine after conducting maintenance. It’s where you fire up the engine to check and see that it’s performing properly.”

Do you have any other exciting projects you can tell us about?

“Currently, the most exciting project I’m working on is the F-135 test cell. We are a relatively small team working on this project. It can be frustrating, exciting, and fun at the same time. But on the bright side being part of a start-up project like this is that you get to put your own spin on it. You get to influence the project the way you think it should be done, or how you want it to be. It is very exciting,” says Sveinung.

In 2019, Kongsberg Aviation Maintenance Services (KAMS) became part of Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace, a subsidiary to KONGSBERG. Before that, the company was called AIM Norway. 

What did you think about AIM Norway becoming part of KONGSBERG?

“I was very pleased about it! KONGSBERG is a solid and serious company and I think that has benefited us immensely. As a defence company you don’t have regular customers. To be able to get the important contracts you need the resources. KONGSBERG have those resources.”

What is your best KONGSBERG memory?

“Hm… It’s hard to choose one specific memory. I think what I enjoy the most is when I get home from work, knowing that I have had a good day and contributed in creating good results. Especially, if the project at first doesn’t look too good, but we are able to find a solution and deliver on time. It is a very satisfying feeling to know you have delivered a great product,” says Sveinung. 

Sveinung has a background in electronics and aviation mechanics. He always knew he would be working within a technical subject, but for a long time his interests were specific to the motor industry.   

"You get to influence the project the way you think it should be done, or how you want it to be. It is very exciting."

Have you always had an interest in mechanics or is it something that came later?

“In the past I have done a lot of motorcross rallys and motorsport. When I had to choose a field of study, I knew that I would spend a lot of my free time on my hobby, so I thought I would have to choose something a little different for work. That’s when I discovered aviation.”

What is your dream project?

“I not quite sure what it could be. In my spare time I work on the family farm. It's not a big farm, but we grow grain. So I think my dream project would be to create something related to the farm. But I haven’t given it much thought to be honest."

How do you manage balancing being a farmer and having a full-time job as an aviation mechanic?

“That’s not an issue. The farm is relatively small scale, so its manageable. We also have flexible hours at work, so when I’m in the middle of harvest season, we make it work.”

KONGSBERG is growing fast. Over the next few years, more than a hundred new positions will be created at the new facility at Rygge.

Do you have any advice for people who is in the beginning of their careers?

“If you are someone who can work carefully and meticulously, then working as an Aviation Mechanic is something I definitely recommend. Since the company is developing rapidly, there are good opportunities to get a job,” Sveinung concludes.

Hand holding coffe cup. Credit: Njål Frilseth

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