To celebrate Women of Aviation Week, National Careers Week and International Women’s Day we are highlighting some of our exceptional female employees making zero-emissions flight a reality.
Here at Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS), we’re developing the world’s first fully certified, hydrogen-powered, passenger carrying aircraft. Given that the technology is completely novel, it’s an inherently challenging goal.
To achieve this momentous step in aviation each individual at CAeS plays a significant part. From Human Resources to Air Vehicle Design Engineering, it’s a complete team effort to get our hydrogen-powered Britten-Norman Islander off the ground and into service by 2026.
Here’s some of the women at CAeS making a difference to the future of flight and demonstrating that careers in aviation come in all different shapes and sizes.
Leilei Dong: Senior Thermal System Engineer
For one of our latest recruits, being an engineer in aviation means contributing to a better world, working on clean, efficient, and green energy technology, giving her a sense of value and achievement.
She developed a passion for engineering through working on different energy industry projects, solving various technical problems and contributing to saving energy and protecting the environment.
Day in and day out Leilei solves complex problems for a particularly challenging area of our project – thermal management. Ensuring that we have high-performance solutions for aircraft thermal management is a significant engineering challenge and one that excites and motivates Leilei.
She says: “I think we need more advocation that engineering is an exciting and rewarding area for all people among young students and that it’s not only for men, to encourage females to study engineering.”
Annie Stone: Marketing & Communications Executive
To achieve CAeS’ goals of developing zero-emissions aircraft, the organisation must work hard at Marketing and Communications to attract talented employees, connect with investors, and build relationships with potential customers and political influencers.
Annie joined in September 2022 with a history of working across a multitude of sectors, with a significant portion within the aviation industry.
She says: “I’ve worked in different industries including the charity sector and the sports sector, but nothing compares to the passion and talent that you find in aviation. This is especially apparent at Cranfield Aerospace where the work we are doing is contributing to a greener, brighter future for generations to come.”
Annie’s role is extremely varied and involves everything from coordinating press releases to producing content for social media platforms.
She says: “If you’re an aspiring marketer, then the Aviation industry is such a great place to learn your trade. No one day is the same, and there will be so many avenues to explore with your ideas.”
Fiona Axten: Project Coordinator
With extensive experience in project management for a variety of industries including medical devices and IT, Fiona joined the Project Management team at Cranfield Aerospace 7 months ago. CAeS was the perfect fit, having always had a passion for the environment and reducing the world’s carbon footprint.
She works alongside Project Managers, coordinating people and their project tasks, and resource allocation to ensure that the engineering team’s deliverables are met.
Fiona says: “It’s fantastic working with inspiring people and being part of ground-breaking work making zero-emission flight a reality.”
When asked what she would say to young females considering a career in aviation she said: “Just go for it; it’s a great environment and the people make it so much fun.”
April Heaven: Technical Records Administrator
Alongside CAeS’ ambition for zero-emissions flight, the company also operates a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility. April’s role as Technical Records Administrator is a key cog in the day to day running of the MRO.
April joined CAeS over 4 years ago having previously worked in Part 145 and Part M roles.
Having worked in aviation for 13 years, she makes sure aircraft paperwork is completed on time and correctly, ensuring aircraft are delivered back to customers efficiently.
She says: “I’ve really enjoyed watching the company develop over time and seeing us take on more customers.”
For young females looking at different avenues in aviation, April encourages them to pursue a career in aviation because there are so many different areas to explore.