Mark Staines

Our interviewee for this instalment of People in NDE is Mark Staines, an NDT Inspector at Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group (ADG) in Cambridge…

Briefly describe your current role in NDT.
I am an NDT Inspector at Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group and work in the five main NDT techniques. I hold a Level 2 in eddy current testing and am working towards Level 2 in ultrasonic testing, magnetic particle inspection, dye penetrant inspection and radiography.
As part of my role I inspect various areas of aircraft on both metallic and non-metallic structures and components. The types of aircraft that these inspections are performed on include Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, Cessna Citation and various Boeing and Airbus types.

What does a typical work day involve? Or is there no ‘typical day’?
There is definitely no typical day. Every day is different and we are always busy working in manufacturing or in the hangars.

What training route did you follow? Why did you choose NDT?
I started my career as an aircraft engineer apprentice and spent 10 years on the shop floor as an airframe/engine fitter and technician. Then a vacancy for an NDT Trainee Inspector at Marshall came up and I decided to apply. One of the reasons I applied was because I had been on a tour of the NDT facilities as an apprentice and had liked the look of it. I have worked in NDT for two years now and I enjoy the challenge of it.

Have you had any particularly memorable jobs as an NDT Inspector?
I was involved with the NDT inspection programme on the last flying Canberra PR9, which was a good experience. We have a wing test-rig at Marshall and I have carried out inspections on wings under test. It is interesting to inspect the same part with known defects several times, to see how cracks propagate over time – this helps to know what we are looking for in other jobs.

How would you describe NDE/NDT to someone who knows little or nothing about it?
Inspecting something without damaging it!

What is your favourite NDT technique and why?
Radiography, because it is good to have a visual representation of what I am inspecting. I also like ultrasonic testing because it is a massive subject and there is a lot to get your head around. The scope in which UT can be used is mind-blowing. I would like to do more phased array UT and also ECT arrays – I think these are the future techniques.

Please get in touch if you have any recommendations for future interviewees or would like to be interviewed yourself. Contact the editor at or email Maria Felice direct at

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