Aero Boys and Girls in China

Shermain Lim shares about her internship experience at Pratt and Whitney, one of the world’s biggest aircraft engine manufacturers. She also offers tips on bargaining in Beijing!


Aeronautical Engineering students are no strangers to flight formations. Here, they’re in their very own Flying V! Shermain Lim is fifth from left.

At Singapore Polytechnic (SP), every student gets valuable learning opportunities through overseas attachments, internships, study trips or leadership camps. These trips equip them with skills that are not only applicable to their course, but also in everyday life, such as how to get a good deal in a street market and live independently on their own!

Take for example, Shermain Lim, a second-year Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering (DARE) student. She discovered two quintessential bargaining techniques while shopping during her course’s six-week industrial attachment in Beijing. “There are two methods,” she explains. “One way is to pretend that you have no money and try to look very pitiful, and then beg with the storekeepers nicely. The other is to state your price and just keep acting like you want to walk away. If they refuse to sell to you, you can just go to another shop and try your luck again.”

Together with 17 others, she interned at Pratt and Whitney, one of the world’s biggest aircraft engine manufacturers. At its Beijing branch, they learned about aircraft engine theory and gained practical engine assembly experience under engineering professionals. “The lessons were really well-planned, and our teachers made the experience really fun,” Shermain says. “They took good care of us, and would patiently explain things to make sure we understood the lessons clearly at every point. There are some engineering facilities out there that make you want to run out of them immediately, but Pratt and Whitney was clean, new and gave us a cosy, homely feeling.” For the team, going to such an established—and even friendly and welcoming—engineering company definitely felt like a privilege.

The trip also marked Shermain’s first time in Beijing. She and her friends got to visit some of China’s most famous attractions such as The Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and the Beijing World Park, a theme park filled with miniature replicas of famous icons such as the Eiffel Tower! They also went to street markets where they bought T-shirts, watches, sneakers and accessories at competitive prices. A cap there can cost as cheap as 30 to 40 yuan (about S$6 to S$7)—or even cheaper if you dare to bargain more!

Coming from a mixed secondary school, Shermain did not feel bothered by the fact that most of her group mates were guys and quickly got used to interacting with them. “I feel Engineering is something anyone can take, regardless of whether they’re a boy or a girl,” she says. For someone who used to disassemble spoiled DVD players and televisions for fun as a child, pursuing her interest in electronics was more important than such considerations. With her current Grade Point Average score of 3.8 out of a maximum of 4.0, it’s certainly not hard to believe that following her passion has helped her do well in school!

With overseas opportunities like these, our students have every chance to grow into well-rounded, highly-skilled individuals! Can’t wait to be a part of such vibrant experiences? Come join us at SP, where all this and more is So Possible!

Thrust into a New Culture
Like Shermain, final-year Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering (DARE) student Muhd Azkhairy Bin Mohd Ramezan also had an incredible time in Beijing! Together with his coursemates, he interned at AMECO, China’s largest aircraft maintenance supplier, where he gained new skills and experience in working on different parts of commercial aircraft.


Azkhairy making his debut on the Great Wall of China.

“To me, the most interesting experience was living independently,” Azkhairy says. “During the trip, we had to do simple things we used to take for granted at home such as doing laundry and making dinner. We definitely enjoyed the freedom, but we also learnt to be responsible for our own actions.” He also enjoyed picking up Chinese phrases. Though he still relied on friends to translate for him, mastering simple expressions like “谢谢” (thank you) and “太贵了” (it’s too expensive) definitely helped him greatly in daily life!

The AMECO attachment was also an excellent opportunity for him to find out more about the industry. “I believe that engineers are a special breed—they are truly one of a kind! At AMECO, I met many engineers and their depth of knowledge in their specialised fields was inspiring. They possess a certain character that revolves around seeking perfection in the things they are passionate for.” After he graduates, Azkhairy hopes to become a pilot with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF). Since he’s already earned his Private Pilot License through the Singapore Youth Flying Club (SYFC), he’s definitely one step closer to realising that dream!

Did you know? Through SP, students can sign up for SYFC courses at highly subsidised rates!


Toy Planes To Real Aircraft

Radio-controlled planes as a child, a job as an Air Force Engineer in the army, and a MINDEF scholarship to study for an aeronautical engineering degree at Singapore Institute of Technology. Find out how Jeremy Jiang’s life and airplanes are intertwined.

From a passionate hobby of assembling RC-planes, Jeremy is now in his second year at Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) pursuing the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Aeronautical Engineering offered by SIT in partnership with University of Glasgow. Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world.


Photo courtesy of Singapore Institute of Technology.

Since young, he has always been curious about how airplanes fly and the mechanics behind them taking off and landing. To pursue his interest, Jeremy joined SP in 2007 after his ‘O’ levels at Maris Stella High to pursue the popular Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering (DARE). After SP, he signed on as an Air Force Engineer Officer where he was offered a scholarship by MINDEF to further his studies in SIT.

As an Air Force Engineer, Jeremy believes that his degree education will equip him with the advanced skills and knowledge to understand aircraft systems better, and help him with defect analysis, trending and troubleshooting. The highlight of his course was spending four weeks in Glasgow for the Overseas Immersion Programme, during which he worked on two key projects. One of them involved building a high-lift aerofoil using styrofoam to conduct wind tunnel testing.

Jeremy’s team of five conceptualised the design in Singapore then assembled the model in Glasgow. He built on his experience from his final-year project in SP where his team built a 2.2m by 3.6m aircraft that operates like a helicopter with vertical take-off and landing capabilities. This project was funded by DSTA and the team clinched the Bronze Award at the annual SP’s Engineering Show. The model still resides in his former lecturer’s office in SP to this day.

At SIT, Jeremy spearheaded a community service project in Glasgow where the students made sandwiches and distributed them to the homeless twice a week in the town area. His motivation for helping the community stems from an experience in the Air Force, when he was tasked to lead a project by bringing the elderly to Marina Bay Sands for a day trip. He noticed how something small could bring much joy and happiness to the elderly and since then, has been very motivated to continue giving to society.

As the President of the SIT-UoG Student Management Committee and SIT Divers Club, Jeremy is required to organise a range of student activities. This year, he organised a Chinese New Year gathering for SIT-UoG staff and students. He recalls fondly that the faculty from Glasgow were delighted to have the chance to “lou hei” with the locals and be part of the festive occasion. The soft skills that he gained from these extracurricular activities have raised his confidence level, which is useful for him when he gives presentations to his superiors and commanders.

As UoG’s aeronautical engineering programme is conducted at SP, Jeremy is delighted to continue his degree education at his alma mater as it brings back memories of his poly days – loads of fun moments amidst the hard work needed to upkeep his Grade Point Average. To his juniors in SP, he says, “Never give up on whatever you are doing and always strive for the best that you can be!”


Collaborating with world’s third-largest commercial aircraft manufacturer

SP signs an agreement with Bombardier Aerospace, creating exciting new opportunities for student aerospace projects and internships.


Second-year DARE students (from left) Choo Juan Qing, Ng Li Ting, Jarred Yeo and Glenn Chua posing with a Bombardier aircraft at the Singapore Airshow 2014.

Bombardier Aerospace, the world’s third-largest commercial aircraft manufacturer, inked their first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a local educational institution. The five-year partnership with SP, formalised at the recent Singapore Airshow 2014, will advance real-world training of SP students in aeronautical engineering. This will help realise their potential and enable them to be well-placed in the growing aerospace industry.

Several new and exciting programmes will be developed to give a holistic training and development experience for both organisations. The student attachment programme, for example, will take on a fresh spin where final-year students from the Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering (DARE) and Diploma in Aerospace Electronics (DASE) will embark on an 18-week industrial project internship at Bombardier Aerospace’s new, full-fledged business aircraft service facility located at Seletar Airport. The students will work on a spectrum of projects related to aircraft research and design, maintenance and VIP interior design of business aircraft.

The MoU is timely as the worldwide aerospace market is projected to experience speedy growth over the next two decades with 24,000 deliveries valued at US$650 billion.

SP is the first polytechnic to launch aeronautical-related diploma courses, with the DARE and DASE courses launched in 2002 and 2003 respectively.

The School of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering has also inked an MoU with Singapore JAMCO which is in the business of manufacturing and maintenance of narrow-bodied aircraft cabin equipment, and airport operations services. Both parties will, among other collaborations, co-operate on final-year projects relevant to JAMCO. DARE students will also be placed on semester-long attachments to JAMCO whose worldwide network spans as far away as Europe and the Americas.


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.