Fighting fires and flying planes are not phrases you often hear together, but these things collide in the aviation industry where there are a host of diverse job opportunities.  During a recent event held by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), a young GE Aerospace engineer, Brendan Freely, joined a group of peers onstage to talk about what excites them about careers in aviation.

“In our industry you have firefighters who fly planes,” Freely stated when speaking to the audience about the diversity of the industry and its impact on society. The role that general aviation plays in a variety of jobs, through both fixed-wing and rotorcraft applications, including firefighting in rural and challenging geographies, are critical to society. Firefighting isn’t the only type of first responder job empowered by aviation. Emergency medical services, search and rescue, and policing are also bolstered through flying. Flying also strengthens other industries as well including applications for farming, forestry, fishing, construction, real-estate and more.

The role aviation plays in society is an outsized one and according to Freely, “every job in the industry is equally important to making the ecosystem and our society work.” Expanding on the importance of the industry’s impact, he asserted that “what is favorable for aviation, is favorable for humanity as there are many direct and indirect benefits we receive through this industry.”

© GAMA. (from left to right: Emma Rasmussen, Aircraft Safety Intern, Cirrus Aircraft; Cate Brancart, Manager of European Operations and Safety, GAMA; Eric Hinson, President and CEO, Simcom International, and Chairman of GAMA; Maria Della Posta, President, Pratt and Whitney, Canada, and GAMA Communications Committee Chairwoman; Pete Bunce, President and CEO of GAMA; Rosa Lee Argotsinger, Director of Flight Safety and Security, Textron Aviation; Brendan Freely, Hybrid Electric Engineer, GE Aerospace; Gabby Romano, Program Manager / Flight Instructor, Simcom Aviation Training)

Freely also shared that the aviation industry is driving innovations that continue to shape society and have an impact on the common good.  “To an outsider, aviation may look stagnant as we have been flying similar looking aircraft architectures and engines for decades. But disruptive new technologies are coming that will be more visible to the public than they are today.” As a hybrid-electric engineer, Freely was giving a nod to the work being done to create new hybrid-electric engines as well as open fan designs which promise to significantly reduced CO2 emissions even more than today’s highly efficient engines.

While these next generation engine technologies are still in development, things are happening today that are having meaningful impact.  Advancements in air traffic systems, onboard aircraft electronics and avionics, and other connected systems, have helped to enhance the way general and commercial aviation continue to deliver societal benefits by delivering goods and services and providing for an important mode of transportation that connects the world.

“I joined the aviation industry because of the problems we must solve. Our industry’s intense focus on safety means we have to be perfect in what we do,” said Freely.

“We push the limits of components and products so that we can make flying even better. It’s an incredible and interesting privilege to be able to work in this industry.”

Whether it’s helping to engineer more sustainable technologies, deliver critical services, or connect the world, the aviation industry has a job for all walks of life. And with thousands of passionate individuals like Brendan Freely working on the hard problems, we can be sure there will always be a bright future for our industry.

Interested in joining a world-class team to see your passion take flight? Explore careers at GE Aerospace!