Eleanor McBrien, a recent graduate of the British Airways Future Pilot Programme, reflects upon the experiences gained while enrolled as a young member at the RAeS Heathrow Branch. While attending numerous Heathrow Branch events, Eleanor was able to establish and strengthen her contacts within the aviation and aerospace industries. This proved invaluable during the application process with British Airways as Eleanor was able to share her experiences of getting involved with the industry from a young age. 

'I joined the RAeS Heathrow branch committee in 2013, following completion of the Aerospace Instructors Course through the Air Training Corps.

Joining the committee was something that really interested me as I have a real enthusiasm for aerospace and aviation. Having previously represented aviation youth groups at events such as Farnborough Air Show, Flyer exhibition and Parliament, I felt passionate about getting involved with the Royal Aeronautical Society branch at Heathrow.

It is a great society to be involved with for any young person wanting to get into aerospace and Heathrow is a branch with lots of opportunities through the country’s largest and busiest airport. The Royal Aeronautical Society has an outstanding reputation with the potential to become a Student Affiliate, Member and continue right up to a Fellow, enabling you to contribute and benefit throughout your whole career. Branch visits including TAG at Farnborough and the IAG/BA Cargo centre along with lectures at BA’s HQ at Waterside are very well attended and provide many opportunities to get involved as both young and more experienced members.

I studied Aerospace Engineering at university and the RAeS supported me very well with this, aiding my studies by getting involved and bringing my learning outside the classroom. The lectures, particularly the  aircraft or engine specific ones, showed me another side to the industry that was outside the textbook as it put a lot of the theory into real life examples. One that particularly stood out to me was about the Merlin engine through which I was able to apply my theoretical understanding of the development of piston engines to a real example and thoroughly enjoying bringing this back to the classroom afterwards.

The Branch has also provided the opportunity to meet people of similar interests from many different backgrounds, whether engineers, air traffic controllers, pilots or general aviation enthusiasts. It has allowed me to establish and strengthen contacts within aviation that I would otherwise have not been able to do. At school I gave a lecture about opportunities in aviation to young people alongside Professor Mike Bagshaw and through this I was able to organise a lecture for the Branch about aviation medicine. The members have not only been able to bring contacts to the society but also make new connections themselves.

One of my roles on the committee is the RAeS Heathrow branch’s Twitter page (@RAeSLHR), having set it up in 2014 and keeping it updated for members and other aerospace enthusiasts. Through this the Branch can get information and topical articles or tweets from other businesses to members about lectures and visits and it runs in parallel to the branch’s Facebook page.

Since joining the committee I have joined the British Airways Future Pilot Programme and I am currently in the process of training at FTE Jerez. The RAeS Committee was invaluable during the application process as it gave me examples of experiences with getting involved with the industry from a young age which many others didn’t have'. 


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RAeS Careers
18 February 2016