Q: Tell us briefly about yourself and your work.
I started my career with ST Aerospace more than 15 years ago as an Avionics System engineer where I performed integration design and testing for aircraft upgrades. I am now a programme director managing aircraft integration and upgrade programmes in the Engineering Development Centre.
Q: Tell us more about the concept of unmanned freighters, and why it is something exciting for you to work on, and for the industry.
Unmanning a freighter will help achieve cost savings for operators. The concept is quite simple – we will put in a computer and intelligent system to replace the pilots in the cockpit. Currently, computers are already flying the aircraft most of the time. We just need to complete the loop and put in the additional functions and necessary safety features both in the aircraft and on the ground to meet civilian safety regulations. It is definitely exciting for us to work on this concept as we may be working with the best in the industry and be among the first to develop such an aircraft.
Q: What are the engineering skills you can apply when working on this project?
Removing the pilots from the cockpit means we need to put in an intelligent system which can control and navigate the aircraft as well as make decisions during emergencies. This involves a lot of integration and software work which a specialised team in ST Aerospace are good at.
Q: What advice would you give to young engineers, especially female engineers who may be unsure about entering the aerospace sector?
The satisfaction that an aviation engineer gets from his or her job can be very tangible, such as seeing the aircraft take off after many months of hard work. However, an engineering career is not all about engineering. There are many other aspects such as dealing with customer expectations, working within a team on intricate details, and making a good presentation to explain a concept. For female engineers who may be concerned with lifestyle changes due to family planning, there are career options and flexible working arrangements within ST Engineering that one can choose from.