First woman appointed in role at RAF Wittering

Sqn Warrant Officer Karen Pinnion
Sqn Warrant Officer Karen Pinnion
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Royal Air Force engineer Karen Pinnion has become the first woman to be appointed Squadron Warrant Officer with 71 Inspection and Repair Squadron at RAF Wittering.

The Squadron is an elite engineering unit specialising in the repair of damaged aircraft structure, non-destructive testing and aircraft weighing.

Such is their skill, technicians from the Squadron were asked to build the tailfin and floor of the Bloodhound supersonic car.

WO Pinnion has more than 34 years of aircraft engineering experience and graduated from Coventry Technical College with a National Diploma in Engineering Technology.

When she joined the RAF in October 1983 it seemed a natural step, as she explained: “My dad was in the RAF, in airfield construction, and I was always interested in science.”

WO Pinnion is a strong advocate of Women in Science and Engineering (Wise), a campaign that aims to increase the participation and contribution of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem).

She said: “If we are serious about seeing more women in science and engineering, it has to start in the classroom.

“Getting children into Stem subjects is the foundation for a good career. Engineering is a language all its own and women understand it as well as men.”

In the 2017 New Year’s Honours List, WO Pinnion was awarded an MBE for her commitment to promoting Stem. In October she will achieve 35 years continuous RAF service.