Meet Bethany: An Engineer Working to Ensure Perfect Balance

White female standing against a railing

Bethany is a passionate Structures and Mechanical Systems Engineer and Weight & Balance Engineer on the KC-30A Program. Read more about her daily work life.

What does your position involve?

A critical part of my role is continuing airworthiness for my team. This means monitoring long term and ongoing projects that will keep our aircraft compliant with regulations and safety as they age. I am also the Weight & Balance Engineer (WBE) for the KC-30A program, which involves monitoring weight changes on the aircraft and carrying out reweighs when required.

So what does a typical day look like for you? 

A typical day for me starts around 7:15 with emails, administrative work and anything urgent. Then it’s off to the daily operations meeting which pulls together people from Defence and Northrop Grumman to review the status of our aircraft and deal with any issues. I take this report back for my team to assign work and projects as required, before conducting our daily team meeting to check in with everyone.

The rest of my day varies, from reading and reviewing incoming technical information to producing engineering orders and special technical instructions to carry out repair, maintenance or upgrade work on the aircraft. I also regularly liaise with different Northrop Grumman teams, Defence and the Commonwealth about projects, issues and general administration duties.

What has been a highlight of your career with Northrop Grumman Australia?

Definitely becoming the WBE for the KC-30A Program! I have held a Weight Authority with Civil Aviation Safety Authority for two years and was the WBE for my previous employer. I really enjoy this niche, and being able to manage it for the KC-30A program was definitely an ambition when I started working here almost two years ago. A long-term goal of mine is to see an integrated weight and balance platform across all Northrop Grumman Australia aircraft programs.

What motivates you?

It’s hard not to be motivated when my office is an Air Force base and every lunchtime is spent watching F-18s, KC-30As and C-17s flying around! I want to be better at my job and learn as much as I can about keeping our planes in the air.

Every day is different and you just never know what’s going to happen! I approach every day with a sense of excitement.

Who inspires you and why?

My mum – she is the strongest woman I will ever know. Throughout her career she has worked extensively in the areas of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, SIDS and Kids and the loss of children in multiple births. She has helped women and children escape domestic violence, rescued children from abusive situations all while being a member and chair of several charity boards and single-handedly raising myself and my three younger siblings. She is, quite simply, amazing.

Have you always been passionate about STEM?

Always! My passion started at just four years old when I proclaimed I wanted to be an astronaut. My favourite subjects all through school were science and I even took a second degree at university in Sciences, along with my Aerospace Engineering Degree. I have had the opportunity to attend several STEM events in regional Queensland to talk about my job and my experience as a female in STEM. I absolutely love inspiring young girls to follow their passion!

And what are your passions outside of work?

I enjoying hiking and exploring nature and have always been heavily involved in community projects, including working in slums in Vietnam and an orphanage in Romania.

Closer to home, I am active in my local State Emergency Services (SES) group, having been a member for four years. Within SES I participate in missing persons search, forensic searches and natural disaster recovery efforts and clean-ups.

People would be surprised to know…

My second Bachelor’s degree is actually in Marine Geology and I have lived in four countries – Australia, Japan, the UK and America!

Northrop Grumman employees are Defining Possible every day. Learn more about life at Northrop Grumman in Australia.

Read more about Bethany at GradAustralia.