Fixing planes and wearing flares, how to be an engineer in the 70s
Published on 19th October 2016

Engineer Lance Meredith’s ID card – you can see he started on 27th of January 1976. He still has the shirt

The year was 1976. The population of the world was 4.1 billion, the Apple Computer Company had just been formed, Jimmy Carter was challenging Gerald Ford to become U.S. President, Holden released the HJ and Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was dominating the charts.

Here at Qantas, we had taken delivery of eight B747s, the aircraft that put air travel within reach of millions. We’d also taken a new group of apprentice engineers into our ranks.

These young men (and, unlike now, they were all men), many of them fresh out of high school, were embarking on a journey that would shape their career and their lives.

Flash forward to 2016 and 55 of these apprentices are now celebrating their 40 years of service at Qantas. Meaning that, between them, they have more than 2000 years of experience.

They’ve witnessed new generations of aircraft enter the fleet, computerised cockpits replace a sea of needles and dials, and huge advances in both safety and passenger comfort.

A few of our 40 year achievers were recently interviewed to share their story.


Dean White and his father Don have more than 80 years of experience between the two of them

One of these engineers, Dean White, was following in his father’s footsteps when he commenced his apprenticeship at Qantas.

He and his father Don worked side-by-side at Sydney airport for 15 years before Don’s retirement in 1991. Setting a high standard in length of service himself, Don worked at Qantas for 44 years starting with the flying boats down at Rose Bay on Sydney Harbour.

Together they have 84 years of service and counting between them – with Dean planning to one-up his Dad by completing 45 years at Qantas!

When we talk about the “wisdom of experience” at Qantas, this is part of what we mean.

Congratulations to all our engineers celebrating 40-plus years of service at Qantas in 2016. They have made a lifelong commitment to the safety and excellence of our great airline and for that, we thank them.

Listen to our engineers share their stories and check out some of the groovy hair styles in the video below. You can read more Roo Tales here.

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