Learning Opportunities

Plane Janes

Ashleyna, Angelina and Faith Foo are three airplane-loving sisters who are all graduates from SP! Find out how their passion for aerospace electronics got started, and what university studies and careers they’ve pursued since graduating.


Taking her interest to the sky is Faith Foo.

Some people aren’t afraid to fly. Others need a little faith to let themselves be lifted thousands of metres into the air. Luckily, Faith Foo has all the faith that’s needed (pardon the pun!). The Singapore Polytechnic (SP) fresh graduate from the Diploma in Aerospace Electronics (DASE) course loves all things aerodynamic, and hopes to work in an aerospace engineering company when she graduates from her Electrical & Electronic Engineering course at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU)!

Hey Faith! Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I graduated from SP in 2012 and now I’m in my first year doing Electrical & Electronic Engineering (EEE) at NTU.

Why did you choose aerospace electronics at SP after your ‘O’ levels at Pasir Ris Crest Secondary School?
My twin sisters (Ashleyna and Angelina Foo) did this course at SP and they also signed on with the airforce. Their interest in airplanes got me hooked on to it as well! We used to watch Air Crash Investigations together and try to figure out the mysteries on our own.

What exactly did you learn in DASE?
Oh it was all so interesting, really! We learned to understand and design electrical circuits and cockpit instruments in a plane. We also studied the structure and frame of airplanes. Also, there was the human factor – we learned about pilot error during flight and how we can design solutions for such problems.

Did your twin sisters influence your decision to join DASE?
No… They mostly left me alone to let me choose what I wanted. They didn’t want me to be in their shadow. They told me to “follow my own path.” But they did bring me down to SP and show me their Final Year Projects and the school’s flight simulator too. They are like my role models. I really look up to them.

When you were in secondary school, did you ever feel anxious about where to go after graduation?
Mmmm worry… I guess I did. But ultimately I focused more on engineering because I like math a lot! And honestly I’m not very good at my language, haha! I just struck out the things I wasn’t interested in and focused on what appealed to me.

Before joining SP, did you think that engineering was a ‘guy’ thing?
Not really. Maybe because when I was younger I was very boyish, haha! I liked playing sports… I got along better with guys as well so I didn’t really think about this much.

Do you have any favorite memories of SP?
Two, actually! My FYP and internship were the times that made me feel that the course was great! During my internship I was with the SYFC (Singapore Youth Flying Club)!   The experience really opened my mind to aerospace because they let me work hands-on in the hangar … I could really apply what I’d learnt. And they never treated guys and girls any differently.

For my FYP I worked on a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). We had students from different courses working on it together. The aeronautical students built the frame and the computer engineering guys programmed the UAV. Then there was us, the aerospace guys!  We were the ones who built the circuits and electronics inside the plane! About 20 of us worked together on the project, so it was really exciting!

That’s really cool! What about a favorite module?
Aeronautical Engineering Science, definitely! We had a really great lecturer. He taught the mechanical side of the airplane— how it is built and the aerodynamics of it… He makes the lessons very interesting. We don’t see the airplanes just in terms of electrical circuits. We get to see it as a whole.

Is there anything that you would like to create one day?
Maybe … teleporting. Haha! I guess it’s because as engineers, we’re always imagining the future =j

Hey that’s out of this world … but it might put you out of a job though!
Hmmm… oh yeah. Haha! I guess that’s true!  =)

A Double Dose of Engineering
Ashleyna and Angelina Foo are Faith’s older twin sisters. They enrolled in SP’s Diploma in Aerospace Electronics (DASE) in 2006 under the Joint Polytechnic SAF Diploma Scheme (now known as the MDES Study Award). Fast forward to 2012, they are now gearing up for a Master’s Programme in University of York, United Kingdom (the programme is fully sponsored by the Singapore Armed Forces under the SAF Academic Scholarship).


From left: Ashleyna and Angelina, twin sisters and the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s (RSAF) dynamic engineering duo!

  • Was it difficult balancing work and play in SP?

Ashleyna: With the SAF sponsoring our studies, we didn't have to worry about finances so we really enjoyed ourselves in SP. We played hard and studied hard; we were in the dragonboating and squash teams.

  • What interests you both about aircraft engineering?

I guess for us it's the hi-tech stuff that goes into the aircraft. It's intriguing to learn about all the advanced technulogy that goes into the aircraft to make it fly safely. Especially after watching Air Crash Investigations with our sister, we were curious about how aerospace technologies were developed.

  • What would you say to young girls interested in studying it?

Till now the engineering industry is still predominantly male but that does not mean being a girl puts us a disadvantage. If you really like engineering, don't be afraid to explore the various fields you can specialise in. Women can also do very well in a male-dominated course.

Overseas Programmes

In your 2nd year, you can complete your six-week Industrial Training Programs in overseas aerospace companies or universities with program cost partly funded by Singapore Polytechnic.

Taiko Aircraft Engineering Company, Xiamen China Civil Aviation University of China, Beijing

High Flyers, Literally!

The only thing better than building a plane may be flying one. That’s what these 14 SP students did while earning their Private Pilot’s Licenses at the Singapore Youth Flying Club in 2013.

These 14 students, who are mainly from the Diplomas in Aeronautical Engineering (DARE), Aerospace Electronics (DASE) and Electrical and Electronic Engineering (DEEE), were presented with their PPLs by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore. These licenses entitle them to pilot a Singapore-registered aircraft for non-commercial use.


A new batch of hotshot pilots is cleared for taking off to the skies! Photo courtesy of Benjamin Sng.

In order to attain their prestigious pilot wings, they joined the SYFC as their CCA and went on more than 30 training flights over a period of about one year. They also took written examinations and studied aircraft theory. Though the process was certainly time-consuming and difficult, it was definitely worth it for all of them to feel their licenses in their hands!

Normally, such training would be incredibly expensive. Luckily for them though, the programme is highly subsidised for poly students; it is almost fully funded by the Ministry of Defence which hopes to identify suitable candidates to become air force pilots. Take note though, for those of you choosing aerospace-related diplomas: having knowledge gained from DARE or DASE doesn’t automatically guarantee that you will succeed in being a pilot. It will however, give you a better understanding of how planes work, and that will be an added advantage if you wish to be a pilot in future!

Besides the fact that SP received a majority of the licenses awarded (14 out of 38), two of our students also received awards given to the best trainees in the cohort! Final-year DEEE student Lee Hong Hui was honoured with the SYFC Best in Flying Award and the MAJ Best in Flying Award, while final-year student Muhd Azkhairy Bin Mohd Ramezan from DARE won the MAJ Best in Ground School Award. And to top it all off, Hong Hui was one of two incredibly lucky ones who were selected to go on familiarization flights on an F-16 fighter plane! Without a doubt, these boys will soar higher when they graduate from SP!

Read more on SPirit.

Last updated: 1 Dec 2014