When you think of women and flying planes in the same sentence, one usually pictures a flight attendant and rarely a pilot and never as an aircraft technician. In this article, we are highlighting the people behind the scenes who do the heavy lifting and guarantee that you not only travel and get to see the world but make it to your destination in one piece. As we take a closer look at what this job truly entails, we had the chance to speak to Habiba Amr, a female Egyptian Aviation Techniation based in Dubai who is making her mark in the male-dominated field.
Graduating in 2019 with an engineering degree in Avionics Technology, Amr has always been fascinated with aircrafts. The degree proved a crucial stepping stone for her career explaining that the difficulty allowed her to figure out if this is what she truly wanted and that learning did not stop there with rapid technological advancements, “you have to have passion in order to truly continue working in this field as it never stops progressing and developing, you have to keep learning and keep up with the latest things happening in planes.”
In this field, the engineer explained how throughout her degree, it wasn’t just about learning equations and memorizing textbooks, but rather going out and getting real-world experience, “I had to do internships throughout my undergrad years and these internships provided the hands-on training, the knowledge that I still apply today.” She further explained that this degree required strength and being tenacious, going after opportunities no matter how small they may seem. I had an internship that required an hour and a half commute to only be fixing parts like headsets, sinks, even coffeepots for aircrafts, and it felt like I was so far away from planes but I had to remind myself that fixing these things will actually get me one step closer and it did.” Throughout our conversation, Amr highlighted the importance of perseverance and seeking out opportunities constantly in order to make it.
Now the youngest in her team and the only female, Amr shares what it’s like to be working in what’s commonly seen as a male-dominated field. Choosing not to be in the division of flight attendants like her father who is a supervisor of flight attendants, she had to prove time after time that she indeed deserved a seat at the table or in this case, the plane, “I constantly received comments from co-workers that as a girl I am not cut out for this job, I am not built for it. I should go back to the kitchen. These comments, however, fuelled my engine; at first I would argue and try to change their minds but I learned that actions speak louder than words,” she said. That being said the young technician added that the opposite was also present with colleagues encouraging her and providing support when needed.
As an Avionics (avionics electronics) technician, an aircraft technician in general whose daily tasks range from troubleshooting to replacing parts on aircraft, working mainly on private jets. During Dubai’s weather heat conditions, it can be difficult to work long hours where they’re not necessarily in the hanger and they need to fix the jets now because they’re connected with set departure dates. The technician also went on to explain how it may not be commonly known but this is indeed one of the most tiring jobs, “the level of physical exhaustion is quite difficult to explain and there are even dangers to this job that is not often talked about, like behind hung above the flight or almost always working with electricity; sure we wear protective wear but you’re bound to get injured,” she explained.
Amr shared that in honor of this special day dedicated to Aviation Maintenance Techniations, she hopes that people appreciate them more. “Aviation maintenance are the hidden part of aviation. it’s like no one asks what happens behind the scenes, how do these flights fly and how do we land safely? No one asks and I was one of these people. One day, I was one of these people that didn’t ask how do these planes fly or when does it get fixed? But being one of them now, I wish people would ask more and recognize us more.”
WE SAID THIS: There’s no such thing as a male-dominated field, it’s all about who can get the job done well.