Hi, I’m Steve Caborn, Test Engineer at the Advanced Structural Testing Centre (ASTC).

I have 16 years of experience in the motor industry and a further 7 years’ experience in the photography and videography industry for both private and commercial clients.

The thing I enjoy most about working as part of the structural testing team is the variety and nature of the work we do. The work touches on all aspects of what I particularly enjoy – the practical side does anyway. I’m not overly keen on the administrative side e.g. report writing and paper trails but I’m obviously aware that it’s a necessity. It’s the design, fabrication and testing that I really enjoy doing.

My role in the Whiffletree project is Cinematographer. I’ll be involved in installing the strain gauges to the plane and then I’ll be videoing and photographing the process throughout the project. We’ve been taking photos of all the assemblies as they have been made and also when the plane arrived and we’ll continue documenting the whole process. The videos and photos all form part of the test evidence – it’s easier to explain something (i.e. where the failure occurs) if we have evidence of it actually happening rather than having to put it in words from the data. The two (data and videos/photos) go hand in hand and make a nice package for the client. It’s becoming more normal to do this kind of thing in testing nowadays and the software we have, which logs the data, actually allows you to link cameras and footage in – it’s still basic at the moment but it will evolve.

The aspect of the Whiffletree project I’m most looking forward to is getting the plane mounted on the rig. We need to flip the plane so it can sit belly up on the rig – physically turning it will be quite interesting and nerve-racking at the same time!

My biggest achievement in life is recovering from a motorbike accident and being able to walk again. I know it’s not career related but it’s definitely something I’m hugely proud of and it was certainly a defining moment in my life. I came off my motorbike 12 years ago – broke my legs, dislocated my knees, pelvis, elbow, ankle; caused nerve damage in my right leg – I spent 4 months in hospital then it took me about 18 months to walk again. At the time I was working at GK Group as Assistant Services Manager and it impacted on my job as I could no longer do it. I had to move into an admin role but once I’d learnt the job I realised it wasn’t for me so I left to be a photographer and set up my own business which I ran for 8 years. I ended up at the ASTC covering for Steve P while he was off following an operation. By the time he came back the workload had increased so there was an opportunity for me to stay on. I’d always been mechanically minded from working in the motor trade and had done some engineering training at Sheffield Hallam so the ASTC seemed like a perfect fit. The photography and videography experience came in handy too!

If I could fly any aircraft it wold have to be the Eurofighter because it’s state of the art and it’s fast! I like speed – I’m a bit of a speed freak (hence the above!)