An Indonesian aeronautical engineer, Saryani “Yani” Asmayawati, was among the members of a team from Cranfield University who were recognized by British Queen Elizabeth II for work in aviation safety.
Yani is an alumni of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB)’s aeronautics department, where she began her studies in 1994 and graduated in 2000.
The good news was spread by her cousin, Bambang Harimurti, the senior editor of Tempo news magazine, who is also an alumni of ITB. Bambang exchanged email regarding the news while celebrating with Yani’s academic mentor, Oetarjo Diran.
The email was published on a blog at ITB alumni senyum-itb.blogspot.com on Thursday, with Bambang identifying her as Asmayani Tjokronegoro and crediting her as being part of a team designing an aviation safety planning system now considered to be the best in the UK.
Cranfield was named among 18 universities and three additional education institutions in the UK to win the highly prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education. The prizes were awarded during a lunch hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
The university was awarded the honor for its “world-leading work in aviation safety through research and training in air accident investigation”.
The work has been carried out by the Safety and Accident Investigation Center, where Yani currently works as a lecturer at Cranfield’s air transportation department.
The prize is a biennial award program within the UK’s national honors system. It is the UK’s most prestigious form of national recognition, open to a UK academic or vocational institution, Cranfield said in a statement.
A lecturer at ITB’s aeronautics department, Hisar Manongam Pasaribu, told The Jakarta Post that Yani worked on the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) as an air safety investigator after earning her bachelor’s degree in aeronautics before continuing her studies at Cranfield University in the UK.
“Her interest was indeed in aviation safety during her studies at ITB,” he told the Post over the phone from Bandung.
“It was further strengthened when she worked at KNKT under the supervision of Dr. Oetarjo.”
Hisar said Yani was provided exposure to the knowledge of various leading players in the aviation sector during her time at KNKT.
“When I ran an aviation safety course, I invited her to be co-lecturer,” he said. “She focused more human factors, as many accidents are caused by human error.”
He said despite the rather dismal condition of Indonesian air safety, it was such a tremendously proud achievement — that an Indonesian women could reach such lofty engineering achievements in promoting air safety.
Cranfield’s website revealed that Yani earned her MSc in Human Factors and Safety Assessment in Aeronautics, recieving the “Course Director’s Most Outstanding Student” award.
Yani worked for KNKT from January 2000 to October 2004 before she moved to England as a senior consulting engineer at RGW Cherry and Associates Ltd until October 2009. She carried out various high-profile research projects studying in-flight fires, cabin safety/survivability and accident analysis with the US Federal Aviation Administration, the UK Civil Aviation Authority, Transport Canada and the European Aviation Safety Committee.
She has since taken a lecturing position at Cranfield University.
Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak contributed to the article