“Males dominate aviation, but we women achieve success!”
She is gorgeous, smart, speaks four languages, and is an aviation engineer. She is 29 years old and repairing VIP planes worth over 10 million euros. Crina Raluca Sentaru is the only Romanian aviation engineer in Switzerland and works with an army of men. Aviation Journeys interviewed the woman who makes waves among foreigners.
”I wouldn’t say I liked dolls, but I was pretending to fix anything I would find around the house”.
AJ: Where did you get the motivation to become an engineer?
Crina Florescu: Since childhood, my attention has been on the technical side. I wouldn’t say I liked dolls, but I was pretending to fix anything I would find around the house. I was always trying to help my father. He set up his car and explained how specific components and mechanical processes worked. I continued developing and improving it over time.
When I was eight years old, my parents took me to Germany to a museum where I saw for the first time the Aircraft Concorde. An aircraft that captured my attention. I had the opportunity to enter inside, and when I did, I knew exactly what I wanted to do in life. I felt like I had discovered my path.
Crina Raluca: For example, corporate aviation lets me work in engineering and maintenance outside legislation. I can research and contribute to the optimization of aircraft. It also brings me closer to the manufacturer by being able to provide my technical expertise as a representative of an aircraft operator and continuing airworthiness department.
”They always believed I would be a good teacher”.
AJ: What was the first part of the aircraft that you fix it in the University?
Crina Raluca: I performed a two years discipleship at the Part 145 facility of the Romanian Aviation Academy on the EC120 Colibri Helicopters. There I had the chance to perform different maintenance tasks under supervision. I remember the first components I inspected were the main rotor blades, and I performed some trim tab adjustments.
AJ: How did your family react when you told them I don’t want to be a pilot, doctor, or teacher? I want to become an aeronautical engineer.
Crina Raluca: My family was surprised since they always thought a teacher position would fit me better. Also, they were afraid I would not be able to succeed in the aviation industry due to the many challenges and feared I would be disappointed. In the end, they believed in my aptitudes and always supported me.
AJ: What type of aircraft are you working with?
AJ: What do you like the most about the work you do?
Crina Raluca: My actual position is called Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation Engineer. My primary role is ensuring an aircraft is airworthy and complies with relevant aviation regulations. Among other activities, I review and analyze aircraft airworthiness directives and service bulletins. Following preparing aircraft maintenance programs, plan and assist the aircraft during maintenance projects and management.
What I like the most about my work is that I can have a reach in different aviation branches and ensure the safety of the aircraft. I wouldn’t say I like any particular aircraft parts; more I enjoy the excellence of the plane as a whole.
”I was the only female engineer the company ever had”.
AJ: What do you find the most difficult?
Crina Raluca: The most difficulty would be that this job requires a lot of compromise regarding personal free time, and being engaged in long-time projects can be a little stressful.
AJ: How many women are in the company where you work as a female engineer?
Crina Raluca: In our department, I was the only female engineer the company ever had. This made them a little nervous at the beginning since they were unsure how I could manage. Still, it went very well. We have been training a second female engineer who joined the company right after graduation two years. Men mainly dominate the field.
AJ: Do you feel protected by your colleagues when you must do a more complex job?
Crina Raluca: Not when it comes to a more complex job because, in this field, there is a saying. “If you don’t know how to swim, you have to be thrown in cold water and learn to swim to survive.” Overall, I do feel protected when my colleagues offer to travel on my behalf to remote locations where my safety is a concern.
AJ: What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
Crina Raluca: The most enjoyable part is working in an international environment. In close contact with many aircraft manufacturers, service providers for the aviation industry, and constantly update me on the latest technologies and developments. This gives me a better picture of the industry’s future and the world.
Time for maintenance!
”Good CRM, it is always teamwork”.
AJ: How does it feel to fix a problem and see the aircraft fly? You have the satisfaction that is in the air because of you.
Crina Raluca: This is the most incredible feeling, it gives me motivation and energy to continue providing the best service to the industry. I never thought a significant result was because of me, it is always teamwork.
AJ: Do you like to fix things through the house or let the man handle them? How is woman Crina, out of the hangar?
Crina Raluca: I used to fix things through the house, but not anymore, man can handle them better than me, for sure. Outside the hangar, in my free time, I try to disconnect myself and enjoy life, be around my family, and spend quality time with them; sometimes, having a free mind is a great feeling.