For the two-year anniversary of the Women in Aviation campaign, AeroTime Editor in Chief, Richard Stephenson, sat down with Sara Mosebar, the A350 Program Manager at Finnair.
With years of experience in the industry, Mosebar talked to AeroTime about her journey into aviation, her role at Finnair, and her message to young girls and boys wanting to embrace an aviation career. For being a role model and inspiring the next generation of women to join aerospace engineering, she was presented with the AeroTime Aviation Achievement award.
WATCH THE INTERVIEW HERE:
Sara Mosebar grew up in El Paso, west Texas, where she watched airplanes fly across big blue skies.
“I thought, how do they stay up there? How does something so large and so massive stay up in the sky? And I didn’t know any engineers at the time, Google didn’t really exist. So, I thought, I’m going to figure that out. Quite early on, I decided I wanted to go into aerospace engineering, even though I barely knew what that was at the time.”
Mosebar started as an engineer at Boeing, working on the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft at Renton, Washington. She then became a Propulsion Service Engineer on the 777 and the 787. She joined Finnair in 2015 and became the airline’s A350 Program Manager in March 2018.
“They’re my babies. I joined Finnair specifically to work with the A350s. I started three months before the first A350 arrived. I still remember when “Whiskey Alpha,” the MSN18 – the eighth aircraft off the line – arrived here in Helsinki. I took care of them every day and was excited every time one landed.
“When you do an aircraft delivery, you inspect every single detail of the aircraft. When you’re that close to them, it’s just a special feeling whenever you see one of them.
“There’s nothing like flying back on a completely empty A350 with just you and your team. I’m not going to tell you all the secrets. But sometimes we have music playing and we’re dancing around. And it’s just such a relief. Because it’s such an intense process.”
In 2022, Finnair launched a new business-class cabin design, AirLounge, aboard its A350 aircraft. The cabin features an innovative non-reclinable curved shell-style seat imagined by Collins Aerospace. This bold choice of seats allows for fewer moving parts, reducing potential maintenance costs and simplifying the passenger experience.
“I think it’s a completely new idea of what a business class experience can be,” Mosebar said. “You can get really comfortable, and cozy, and nestle into the seat without any constraints. It’s almost like sitting at home on your couch, and that was the idea – to have a little bit of home while traveling.”
Finnair reports an improvement of almost 20% in net promoter score on the routes where the aircraft operates the new cabin, which will be rolled out across the fleet around the beginning of 2024.
Mosebar’s success in aviation is certainly inspiring and serves as an example to young girls who may be considering a career in the industry. However, the reality is that women are still underrepresented in many areas of aviation.
“I think we have come a long way. The previous generation did quite a bit to make it possible for me to sit here and have this conversation with you today,” she explained. “But the job’s not done; we still have a long way to go, especially on the technical side of aviation.
“For instance, only 15% of aerospace engineering graduates from my own university are female, which is a problem. We need to start encouraging young girls early on, by providing outreach programs that teach them how to take things apart and learn how things work. Parents might not appreciate their kids taking apart TVs or laptops, but that’s what young engineers do.”
The AeroTime Global Executive Committee recognizes Sara Mosebar’s positive influence, and the significance of her efforts on both the aviation industry and its people. Finnair’s CEO, Topi Manner, congratulated Sara as he presented her with the AeroTime Award.
Richard Stephenson said that AeroTime Aviation Achievement award is “in recognition of her dedication and commitment to the aviation industry, for her focus in leading the Finnair A350 program and promoting women in engineering and aviation; for her encouragement of the next generation of girls and women and contribution as a role model and aviation leader”.
He added: “The AeroTime Global Executive Committee recognizes the positive influence of these efforts and the significance of the impact on the aviation industry and its people, both today and into the future.”