Today is International Day of Women and Girls in Science - and the perfect opportunity to see how the future of aviation stems from the incredible team of women enriching Airbus Helicopters’ activities across the globe. 

With roles ranging from helicopter pilot to final assembly line supervisor to airworthiness engineer, Esther, Natalia, Vanessa, Maria Jesus, Sayo and Isabelle share with us the highlights of their day-to-day…and encourage others to explore the diverse career possibilities that STEM disciplines have to offer.


Isabelle Rouxel, Germany

"I coordinate the testing activities for Airbus' eVTOL prototype, CityAirbus NextGen. When I was a kid, I would always look up in the sky to try and find flying aircraft. I wanted to pilot them. Growing up, I understood that building them was as equally exciting, as you can directly influence the rotorcraft's design and capabilities. Being a part of the CityAirbus NextGen project is an opportunity to shape the future of vertical flight through innovation and decarbonisation. I'm thrilled to see our entire team coming together everyday to do just that."

Maria Jesus Ruano, Spain

"I've been with Airbus for 11 years, the first 5 years as a Workshop Support Engineer in the Tiger Final Assembly Line and the last 6 years in Main Components Assembly. I’m currently an AET (agent d'étude de travail) for the H160 rear fuse in Albacete.

I'm responsible for the Non Conformity Board of the H160. In this role, I act as an interface with France as I oversee the end-to-end process for all the non-conformity openings that affect the rear module of the helicopter. Until the module is delivered to France, we monitor all elements affecting the helicopter’s rear fuselage, both productively and in terms of non-conformity, station to station in the FAL and the flight line. My team and I are the main technical support of the workshop for any problem that interferes with the production process.

I feel deeply proud to be a part of the great H160 family. Each delivery of an H160 is a collective achievement. Every day is a different challenge for us and it is really gratifying to know that, ultimately, we contribute to the success of the program. The success of this helicopter is also our success."

My best advice to a young woman looking to join a career in aviation is to be constant in her efforts and determination, and to never give up. Our dreams are our future reality.

Vanessa Durant, France

"As the Super Puma FAL supervisor, I manage production and quality management for the H215, H225, H215M, and H225M helicopters and work with employees from all support professions. The diversity of my role means that every day is different, and the challenges are diverse, but I take great pride in helping to resolve issues that ensure the smooth operation and quality of our products."

Esther Beckett, USA

"I’m originally from France and currently work as an instructor pilot for Airbus Helicopters in North America. I work primarily in ground and flight instruction, both in live aircraft and simulator, and specialise in the H125, H130 and H145 helicopters.

As a pilot for over ten years, I have flown and provided flight instruction in the US, Canada and Europe. Before becoming a pilot, I worked as an interpreter in English, Italian and French. I was introduced to helicopters while working as an interpreter for a helicopter manufacturer, which inspired me to attend flight school. In addition to my pilot's licence, I have a master's degree in humanities and social sciences in  a foreign language."

Natalia Fedortchenko, France

"I am currently working as a materials and processes engineer in the field of coatings and organic protections at Airbus Helicopters, in the Centre of Excellence for dynamic composite parts at the Paris Le-Bourget site in France. 

My journey at Airbus Helicopters started as an engineering apprentice, focusing on chemistry and processes. I continued my development as a coatings specialist for the helicopter airframe in Marignane and then moved on to helicopter blades, as part of the Paris Le-Bourget team. My role is to screen, qualify and industrialise coating products to enable their use on helicopters. A material or process qualification relies on a comprehensive set of tests to achieve the highest level of safety when using coating materials. What I really appreciate in my daily job is that there is no routine. I alternate between moments at my desk, in production or in the lab to provide customer and production support, perform tests and bring expertise when needed. But what convinces me to go the extra-mile is the opportunity to work with people from various horizons, to be close to the products and to learn every day.

Recently, I contributed to the implementation of an innovative painting process during the production phase. It was a great opportunity to cooperate with other departments, listen to different points of view and collectively work toward continuous improvement of our daily processes.

I am very proud to contribute with my work and my technical expertise to all the incredible missions that our helicopters are achieving!"

If I could share some advice to all the women and girls: there are no limits to fulfil your dreams, no matter how big they are, and to do the job that makes you happy! It is all about passion, work and determination!

Sayo Nishigaki, Japan  

"I started working at Airbus Helicopters Japan as an airworthiness engineer just after completing my studies. My role involves demonstrating to the authorities that a product satisfies technical requirements by analysis, tests, and other means, and therefore is in safe conditions. We work together with Airbus Helicopters for aircraft type certifications in Japan such as H160, and we in Japan also do our own customisations for Japanese and regional customers. I like this job because it deals with technical aspects for some parts and an overview of the whole product at the same time. Working on the H160 in particular is exciting - it’s a brand new helicopter full of new technologies and its certification was a great milestone to contribute to. 

I am fascinated by our products - and for two reasons. The first is that they are so technically complex that they require the commitment of multiple teams and I’m thrilled to be part of this collective effort everyday. The second is that our products support customers in a range of various and tough operations. I am so inspired that we make these missions possible thanks to our teamwork!

If I had any advice to give it would be to not hinder yourself. It is easy to doubt yourself and start creating barriers in your own career out of fear. It was exactly the case for me. Thanks to the opportunity of mentoring and leadership training at Airbus, and also through everyday work with colleagues, I gradually realised that it was only my internal voice but nobody else that kept telling me I was not enough. I learned to believe in myself, and this way I learned to also trust that other people do their best." 

Believing in myself and others made it possible for me to achieve more. I hope my attitude also encourages others to do the same along the way.


Learn more about programmes at that help foster diversity within the Company and encourage women to thrive within the workplace:

Airbus is committed to advancing gender balance across the range of activities that help us make our customers’ essential missions possible. In contributing to this objective, the Company strives to provide employees with the tools and programmes that will enable them to thrive in their working environment. From transitioning back into work after becoming a parent with “Fly Again” in India, to developing local mentorship opportunities and setting targets for women’s career development opportunities, Airbus has created strong support networks that are key to reducing gender inequalities in the workplace.

In addition to providing these resources for employees, Airbus also extends its outreach to local communities by encouraging them to learn more about the adventures they could embark on within the aviation industry. Thanks to partnerships with organisations that share this goal, such as Elles Bougent in France or the STEM Club in Germany, and its participation in dedicated events around the globe, including the Women in Aviation Conference in the US, the Semaine de l’Industrie in France and Girls’ Day Akademie in Germany, Airbus seeks to reach out to more young people thinking about pursuing a career in aviation.