#YouHaveControl – With such a fantastic programme of speakers and supporters, The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) produced an in-depth Diversity-themed Ballantyne lecture.
The day began with an introduction from RAeS President Jenny Body about her own career at Airbus, highlighting the variety of roles that she was involved in, from developing cutting-edge fly-by-wire systems to securing investment for UK aerospace research and design. Jenny also highlighted her passion for the sector and keenness to ensure that it both appeals to and is accessible to underrepresented groups, particularly girls, ethnic minority groups, socially disadvantaged groups and the disabled.
Felicity Feshade, Head of Engineering Systems, Raytheon UK, gave the keynote speech, on her career pathfrom a curious child growing up in a traditional family in Hong Kong (trying to freeze ants to see if they would come back to life!) to her current role.
Flying is often viewed as a particularly elitist part of the sector – with commercial pilot training costs running to six figure sums and the usual image portrayed in the media as white, affluent male. Yet flying is actually much more open that it may appear, with many female captains flying for UK airlines, and more and more opportunities opening up to help disabled people fly.
Gautam Lewis, founder of Freedom in the Air (FITA), gave an inspirational talk about his journey into aviation. As with many of the event’s speakers, not only is he helping to reverse stereotypes, but he followed a very different career path before embarking on aviation.