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Case studies

Jeanette Gallen

Jeannette Gallen, Aeronautical Engineer

Jeanette Gallen

Flight Lieutenant Jeannette Gallen started life in Sheffield and was a pupil at Tapton School in the 1980s. Although she has very fond memories of her time in the city, she faced some frustrations at school as they would not let girls do Technical Drawing. 'It was cooking and sewing for us' she said.

To gain practical experience and satisfy her interest in all things technical, Jeannette joined 367 Air Cadets in Hillsborough. 'I adored Air Cadets', she said, 'My father used to say he would put a bed for me at Air Cadets to save him ferrying me backwards and forwards between home and Hillsborough, as I spent so much time there. Being taught Propulsion, Airframes, and Air Navigation at Air Cadets certainly influenced my career choice'.

Following her time in Sheffield, Jeannette then moved to Norwich with her family where she gained A levels in Maths, Physics and Economics. She then progressed to Manchester University to gain a BEng (Hons) in Aeronautical Engineering, where there were only 4 female students out of 60. Luckily art and physics had been Jeannette's best subjects so she caught up quickly with Technical Drawing on her Aeronautical Degree course, although Jeannette says it would have been easier if she had been able to start at school.

Following graduation she then joined the RAF as a Commissioned Engineering Officer. Jeannette's career has taken her all over the world, including working with Tornado Fast Jet aircraft, and being detached to locations such as Nevada and Alaska in the US, the Falkland Islands and Cyprus. She then worked with Puma Helicopters, commanding a Flight of 70 technicians carrying out aircraft maintenance. Her team was responsible for successfully dispatching Puma Helicopters to Mozambique in 2000, destined for 33 Squadron, who rescued many of those trapped by the floods.

Jeannette now works in Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) for the Ministry of Defence supporting the Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS), which includes the ‘Black Box’ data recorder. This system is fitted to Chinook and Sea King Helicopters, many of which are currently operating in Afghanistan. Jeannette plans to retire from the RAF in 2010 and hopes to take up a new challenge in the civilian Aerospace sector in the South West of England.

Added on: 29/10/2009