Robert Mathews is a military engine instructor at the Pratt & Whitney Customer Training Center. He earned a bachelor’s degree in professional aeronautics through Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Stuttgart, Germany. Before beginning his current role in 2012, he spent 25 years in the United States Air Force – from 1986 to 2011 – as an aerospace propulsion technician.
Why did you join Pratt & Whitney after your time in the Air Force?
Mathews: I joined Pratt because of the professional service of Pratt & Whitney’s representatives as well as the quality engine. I wanted to be part of this outstanding company. My instincts to become part of Pratt & Whitney proved to be a blessing. Everyone I’ve met is customer-oriented which leads to gaining their trust and enables us to provide world-class customer service.
What was your previous experience working with Pratt & Whitney engines?
Mathews: Over the course of my time in the Air Force, I had several different roles and positions working with F100 variants. From 1990 to 1996, my first experience with the F100 engine was working in the Intermediate Maintenance section at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. During that time I learned and performed a variety of duties that included inspection, disassembly and reassembly, test cell functional testing, and converting the original F100-PW-100 engines to F100-PW-220E configuration for the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
From Luke Air Force Base I went to Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, where I was assigned to the Test Cell section performing both installed and uninstalled F100 trims, which was the calibration necessary to bring the engine to operational acceptance. [These were] some of my best experiences and that is where I truly grasped how F100 systems worked while also honing my troubleshooting skills.
After six years at Test Cell, I moved to Aircraft Phase and became the engine lead performing all engine phase inspections. From Spangdahlem Air Base I went to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, where I performed a variety of supervisory positions to include serving as the engine shop superintendent.
What did you appreciate about Pratt & Whitney engines?
Mathews: What I appreciated about the F100 engine is the ease of returning an unserviceable engine to full serviceability in a short time period. When an F100 was inducted into the engine shop, we could get it back up and running and return it to the spare line in four eight-hour shifts, depending on spare parts availability. This is unheard of with other engines I worked on.
What did you appreciate about Pratt & Whitney service?
Mathews: Pratt & Whitney representatives were always available and responsive to any issues that arose. When [the field representatives] relayed on-site questions to engineers, the support teams in East Hartford were always quick to respond. This gave me an understanding of how efficient this company operated and I knew I wanted to be part of it.
How has Pratt & Whitney contributed to your career and goals?
Mathews: With Pratt & Whitney’s help I finished my degree, giving me ample opportunities to continue contributing within the company. For now I am very pleased with what I do as an instructor, training people on a variety of subjects including F100-PW-220/229 Engine Familiarization, Systems and Troubleshooting, and Engine Intermediate Test Operation. This gives me plenty of opportunities to interact with our customers, promoting the quality military engine that we produce.