It was during the second year of her degree that aerospace engineering graduate Komal Sangha (BAeroEng(Hons) 2011) set her sights on a career in the Australian Defence Force.
Four years later at age 24, she is a fully-qualified aviation engineer in the Royal Australian Navy. Based at HMAS Albatross in Nowra, NSW, she works with highly complex machinery including the Navy’s fleet of Seahawk helicopters.
It was her passion for rotary wing systems that led her to choose to join the Navy over the other disciplines.
“The opportunity to work with the amazing technology and machinery really appealed to me,” she said.
The two years military and technical training that formed part of her job were a highly rewarding experience but meant a steep learning curve, she says.
Komal then spent 10 months learning everything she could about Seahawk helicopters, including conducting regular maintenance, providing recommendations to the command, delivering daily engineering briefs, and planning squadron detachments.
“The detachments over the last two years have taken me on the HMAS Sydney where we travelled from Hawaii to Brisbane and to Bundaberg in Queensland for Anti Submarine Warfare,” she said.
Komal recently achieved her primary qualification as an Aviation Engineering Officer and is eagerly awaiting her first posting as a junior Aviation Engineering Officer.
One of the highlights of her short Navy career occurred while on a detachment to Caloundra with Seahawk helicopters.
“We had a small stopover at Port Macquarie to show school kids the helicopter,” Komal said.
“As I was showing them around, a little girl and her mum came up to me and asked for a picture. The girl’s mother told me the girl was really inspired to see a female engineer working with a helicopter and had decided that she’d become an Aviation Engineer as well.”
Komal says days like that made her understand two important aspects of her job: how lucky she is to have been given the opportunity to join the Australian Defence Force and how important it is to act as a role model for younger generations.
Komal's study and training was supported by a Defence University Sponsorship through the Australian Defence Force.