Women engineers take flight

Women perform a major role in the airline industry not just as pilots and cabin crew but also as maintenance engineers. Metrolife spoke to say about 7 per cent of their ground maintenance staff are women.
“Earlier not many women would take up this job. Things have changed in the last 10 years. We now have more women engineers taking on important jobs in the aviation industry. Women bring in a new and innovative wave of thinking,” says the spokesperson of a prominent airline.

When Tanushree Mandal, aircraft maintenance engineer, Vistara, began her career, pilots
and cabin crew were the most common job proles for women.
“The role of an aircra maintenance engineer, though extremely rare for a woman, intrigued me. The intricacies of how an aircra functions and the avionics behind the machine got me excited,” Tanushree told Metrolife.
With over a decade in the profession, Tanushree has worked on the Airbus 320, Boeing 737, Cessna 152, and the Cessna 172. “Each machine is unique with respect to its communication, navigation, and display,” she explains.
She gained her technical knowledge at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in Bengaluru. “And there is specialised training for every aircraft,” she observes.
When she started working as a maintenance engineer, many told her it wasn’t a woman’s job. “The key is to think you are qualified for the job and can perform as well or better than anyone else,” says Tanushree.
Palak Arora, avionics engineer, IndiGo, was first exposed to the idea of aircraft maintenance engineering at a career fair. She took up a course in aircraft maintenance engineering in the avionics stream, and qualified for the job over five years.
The challenge is often with the physical structure of planes. “There are times when we have to x errors at places hard to reach. It’s like working on a human brain, one may know the location of a tumor, but is afraid about harming the other nerves in the pathway,” she says.
The job calls for a high level of concentration and leaves no room for mistakes, she says.Kumari Sujeeta, duty engineer, AirAsia India, hails from a tiny hamlet in Bihar. “I realised becoming a pilot was not easy for a middle class girl. I had no idea about engineering in the aviation industry. Aer Class 12, I came to know about an aircraft maintenance engineering course and the most important thing was that it was not very expensive. So it was like a dream come true,” Sujeeta told Metrolife.
27/06/20 Nina C George/Deccan Herald

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