Tyler Lee Yik Loong ensures that aircraft under his care are operational in his role as Manager (Continuing Airworthiness), Flight Standards Division. He is a CAAS Overseas Undergraduate scholar, and he holds a Master of Engineering (Aeronautical Engineering) from Imperial College London.
It’s a tough job being a global air hub but someone has to do it. For Singapore, that role is taken by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).
In order to maintain Singapore’s stature as a vibrant aviation hub of choice, CAAS adopts a progressive approach in its air services policy, economic and service regulatory framework, and airport development and planning.
For many, the idea of an exciting career in aviation might involve fighter planes à la Top Gun. But for Tyler Lee Yik Loong, he certainly didn’t need that surge of adrenaline to spark his interest – his first experience at six years of age up in the clouds was enough. “I was very excited and almost couldn’t sit still in my seat. At that age, being able to be on a plane brought me so much joy. This warm and fuzzy feeling never left me throughout my schooling years,” he recalled.
More than just Airplanes
Tyler would spend time learning about aircraft and spacecraft through documentaries, and he made up his mind that he wanted to pursue education in this area. Like many before him, Tyler discovered the CAAS Overseas Undergraduate Scholarship at a scholarship fair.
“It was quite daunting to make a career choice at a tender age of 20 years old, not knowing what each organisation does and what it means to be part of them,” said Tyler, echoing what most of his peers possibly feel. But being able to interact with career officers from various organisations helped him understand what he would be getting himself into. The various rounds of interviews allowed him to speak to senior management and get a glimpse of life in the respective companies.
“In the end, I was offered a few scholarships, but I eventually decided to go with CAAS because of the diverse career paths that CAAS provides,” said Tyler. “My choice to join CAAS can be summarised in three words – diverse, innovative, and dynamic. CAAS is the only organisation which covers a wide spectrum of work including air hub development, aviation safety regulation, and air traffic management.”
Tyler explains that aside from ensuring safe flights, a career at CAAS lets you be part of various workstreams, such as driving industry initiatives to transform Singapore’s aviation industry and engaging international partners to shape global aviation policies towards a safer and more sustainable future, so as to safeguard Singapore’s position as a premier air hub.
Opportunity is the watchword here, which Tyler enjoyed while pursuing his Master of Engineering in Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College London. Not only did Tyler’s stint at the distinguished university provide him with the aeronautical engineering knowledge to help him make informed decisions swiftly when anomalies in aircraft occur, it also exposed him to the “philosophical concepts of learning.” He adds that the breadth of the curriculum introduced management ideologies and philosophy would eventually help him in his policy-making roles. With Europe home to Airbus, one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in the world, Tyler found moments to engage with Airbus staff and deepen his aviation knowledge.
Tyler adds that it is all part of what CAAS does to keep the overseas-based scholars engaged. Participation in international forums, seminars, and related events present learning opportunities where they can interact with the top players in the aviation industry, along with CAAS’ senior management. It also serves as a window to the workings of the industry and the functions of CAAS.
Currently, Tyler is a Manager (Continuing Airworthiness) with the Flight Standards Division at CAAS. He maintains regulatory oversight of safety-related issues and ensures that aircraft are safe to fly, and carries out regulatory reviews of those policies. “The work culture at CAAS is energising, yet nurturing,” he described.
Tyler explains that he is involved in innovative projects that span various disciplines. As a result, he gains exposure to many strategic discussions that constantly explore thought leadership ideas with industry partners, local and foreign, which helps promote forward-thinking and ultimately helps Singapore’s aviation industry evolve.
In the face of such demanding tasks, Tyler never feels overwhelmed. “Despite the many responsibilities and demands expected of my bosses and colleagues, they never hesitate to provide me with guidance whenever I encounter a roadblock,” he beamed.
And when it comes to obstacles, there are none more trying than Covid-19, which spelt a trying time for the aviation industry. Amongst other things, regulations for aircrew have been evolving at a rapid rate. But for Tyler, it was a time that he felt that he made his most significant contribution.
“Things moved so fast that we had to constantly put in extra hours to support air travel and transport needs, reuniting families and ensuring the transport and delivery of essential goods,” he explained. But for Tyler, he feels a sense of accomplishment in being able to contribute to the building of the Singapore brand and its status as a world-class air hub.
An All-Round Career
As such, Tyler believes in constantly upgrading his skills; he hopes to continue to develop holistically and build on his technical expertise and soft skills. “I aspire to be an all-rounded innovator and take on projects from various disciplines. I would like the opportunity to create a synergy of original ideas to contribute to CAAS and the Singapore aviation industry,” he declared.
Contrary to popular belief, said Tyler, you don’t need to specialise in aeronautical or aerospace to join CAAS. “We deal with matters that require diversity, such as technology, sustainability, engineering, international relations, air route planning, economic policies, unmanned aerial systems and even the assessment of aircraft designs. All these require people with a wide spectrum of experience.”
Tyler is of the opinion that CAAS is the place to be for those aspiring to be all-rounders, much like himself. He attributes this to the dynamic nature of the aviation industry and points out that there is a great wealth of opportunities for people who wish to accumulate soft and hard skills. “Through a CAAS scholarship, one not only gains job-specific skillsets but also builds character, which is a lifetime asset,” he added.