Two pioneering Emirati engineers have spoken of their pride at working on Boeing’s prestigious 787 Dreamliner programme.
Maryam Al Kuwaiti and Naseefa Al Ameri, both in their 20s, work at Strata Manufacturing in Al Ain.
They spent eight months in the United States, learning how tail fins are made for the 787, one of the world’s most advanced passenger jets. The two were the first engineers from Strata to participate in this exchange.
Ms Al Kuwaiti and Ms Al Ameri are mechanical engineers and have worked with Strata for several years. Both are from Al Ain, went to university there and are the first from their families to become engineers.
“I like maths, physics and chemistry and I wanted to study something unique that nobody from my family studied,” said Ms Al Ameri, who joined Strata in 2013.
“I wanted to find a company where I could apply the knowledge in an advanced way and be a part of the development of my country,” she said.
Ms Al Kuwaiti entered the field because of the diversity it offered. A previous internship with Airbus showed the potential of aerospace.
“I’ve always been interested in manufacturing and creating things. No one from my family has been a mechanical engineer – I didn’t want to be a doctor,” said Ms Al Kuwaiti, who has been with Strata for more than five years.
She said that nobody expected to have such a facility in Al Ain.
“The first time I ever came here I was surprised,” said Ms Al Kuwaiti. “There were sand dunes and sand dunes – where is the company? But more people know about it now. It has a really good reputation around here.”
Over the eight months in the US, they worked with top Boeing engineers in Seattle and Salt Lake City, learning about the complex production process for the tail fin of the Dreamliner from the drawings to software to navigation. Both are now sharing their expertise with staff at Strata and it’s envisaged these tail fins will be made in Al Ain over the next year or so.
Both say the experience was a dream come true, working with Boeing experienced experts who made them feel welcome and encouraged their questions. The two also learned about American culture, participated in community outreach programmes and volunteered at local schools.
“At the end, both Boeing and us were both sad it was ending as it was such an amazing experience,” said Ms Al Kuwaiti. “We were so happy with the work we did together.”