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K.W.

AM Vehicle Development Dep./Vehicle Group/Flight Science Team

Originally from Indonesia, she joined SkyDrive as an Aeroelastic Engineer in the Vehicle Development Group. She pursued aerospace engineering at Monash University, Australia, and further studies in aerospace vehicle design at Cranfield University, UK. She gained professional experience at PT Dirgantara Indonesia, where she was actively involved in the design, analysis, tests, and certification of a 19-seater transport aircraft designed for multi-purpose missions in remote areas. In her current role at SkyDrive, she is responsible for analyzing and optimizing the interaction between structure, aerodynamics, and the control system to ensure structural integrity and stability throughout flight phases. She is hopeful and eager to take part in SkyDrive’s ongoing commitment to pushing the boundaries in aerial innovation.

K.W. Interview

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Introduction 
Originally from Indonesia, currently contributes her expertise to SkyDrive, a leading global Japanese startup specializing in electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) technology. In her role as an Aeroelastic Engineer, she shares insights into her experiences with the company and her life abroad in Japan.

Background
Her origins trace back to the lesser-known Talaud, a secluded archipelago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, near the Philippine border. She embarked on her educational journey at the age of 12, leaving her native island and all her family to pursue higher education in a larger city. Her academic path led her through junior and senior high school in Indonesia, attending SMP Stella Maris and SMA Lokon St. Nikolaus Tomohon. Then pursued Aerospace engineering studies at Monash University, Australia on a local Government scholarship. After completing her undergraduate degree, she pursued further studies in Aerospace Vehicle Design at Cranfield University in the UK on another scholarship. Her childhood dream of developing flying machines that could vertically take off and land anywhere ignited her passion for flying cars. She gained professional experience in PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Indonesian Aerospace) before being drawn to SkyDrive’s visionary mission.

Role at SkyDrive
As an Aeroelastic Engineer at SkyDrive, she plays a crucial role in analyzing and optimizing the dynamic interaction between aerodynamic forces and the structural components. This includes assessing rotor-induced vibrations, conducting flutter analysis, and ensuring the overall structural integrity and stability during various flight phases. Beyond this, she collaborates with the flight control team to enhance safety, passenger comfort and performance, incorporating aeroservoelastic considerations for improved control and responsiveness. Managing an eVTOL poses unique challenges compared to traditional fixed wing aircraft – a challenge she has embraced with enthusiasm.

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Experience Working in Japan
She reflects positively on her experience at SkyDrive, emphasizing the open and transparent communication prevalent within the startup environment. Working closely with individuals at all levels, including the CEO and CTO, she appreciates the accessibility and camaraderie. A memorable one-on-one meeting with the CEO three months into her tenure allowed her to contribute meaningfully to discussions on the industry in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia. Such candid conversations with top management reinforced her sense of purpose within the organization.

Goals and Future Plans
While harboring aspirations for a Ph.D., her primary focus is on making significant contributions to SkyDrive. Her vision involves witnessing the development and deployment of flying cars, with a specific goal of seeing the SKYDRIVE eVTOL in flight at the Osaka Expo in 2025. She is eager to participate in the certification process following this milestone. Looking ahead, she envisions establishing a drone-related or eVTOL company for her native islands, aiming to streamline inter-island transportation with reduced environmental impact.

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Future Message
For those seeking a professional challenge and a rewarding experience, she encourages considering a role at SkyDrive. Beyond working on cutting-edge technology, the opportunity to live in Japan and immerse oneself in a unique culture awaits. She extends a warm welcome to future teammates, emphasizing their role in a diverse and talented team working towards revolutionizing transportation. She encourages embracing the adventure, fostering mutual learning, and relishing the journey.