Sarah Qureshi

By Sabrina David

Qureshi was born in Islamabad, Pakistan. She was born into a Muslim and well-educated family: her mother, Dr. Rumana Qureshi, was a quantum chemistry professor and earned a PhD in Quantum Chemistry; whereas her father, Masood Qureshi, was an aerospace engineer, and a famed scientist and physicist. Her father is a well-known and respected figure in the aviation industry by having scientific research experience for over 45 years between Pakistan and the United Kingdom (UK). Besides aerospace, Masood also has experience in many engineering fields, such as automotive, electrical control systems, and mechanical engineering. Furthermore, Qureshi spent a lot of time with her father as a child, learning about car engines as she worked on machinery beside him. Because of her father, Qureshi had the opportunity to discover her passion for engineering at a young age.

In 2001, Qureshi received a Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the National University of Science and Technology in Islamabad. While studying for her Bachelor's, she worked on a research project where she was involved in the development of a data-logging system for the combustion and in-cylinder temperature of an internal combustion engine. At the same time, she took flying lessons at the Lahore Flight Club where she received her private pilot license. After completing her Bachelor's degree, Qureshi completed her Master’s degree in aerospace dynamics and then a Doctorate in aerospace propulsion from Canfrield University in the UK, which is known as the aerospace hub in Europe. She was involved in the design of an air-to-air refueling trajectory controller for unmanned aircraft (UAV), an aircraft without any pilot or airline crew members inside it–similar to a drone, flying in a close arrangement. Her designs improved the UAVs stability augmentation, attitude control system, and other outer loop autopilot systems. Furthermore, she continued to receive aerobatic training and many flight maneuvers at Cranfield’s renowned. By the end of her training, Quraishi completed over 70 hours of flying experience.

Throughout her education, she participated in engineering internships and automotive plants to gain experience for working in the engineering industry. Even though she was the only female undergraduate in her class, she got a lot of support from her family and loved ones which inspired her to continue her education. Whether in school or the workforce, most of the people she worked with made her feel respected and were very supportive of her.

In January 2009, Qureshi returned to Pakistan and married Asim Nazeer that spring. In 2010, she returned to the UK to complete her PhD at Cranfield University. However, after giving birth to her daughter, the university granted her permission to continue her education in Pakistan to maintain her responsibilities as a mother. As a PhD student, she developed a complete engineering model, known as a contrail-free aero-engine, as a part of her PhD thesis. This device was inspired by her father who was already researching ways to eliminate airplane contrails at its source. Studies have shown that contrails, a condensation trail mixed with environmental air of low vapor and low temperature with hot humid air from the plane, contribute to 10% to 15% of aviation’s global warming. This contrail-free aero-engine induces water from the exhaust pump during the flight, carrying it on board and releasing it as rainfall before landing via an on-board recovery from fuel emissions, hence creating a positive net product. This revolutionary device will soon be set up as a full-scale commercial application and be used by a modern civil transport aircraft. In 2016, Dr. Qureshi completed her PhD.

From October 2015 to September 2017, Qureshi supervised MSc (Master of Science) projects at the Aerospace Engineering Department at Cranfield University while pursuing her PhD, which improved her leadership abilities once she co-founded Aero-Engine Craft with her father in July 2018. Moreover, she is considered a trailblazer for women in STEM and an inspiring leader for Women in Aerospace internationally. She is currently ranked as one of the 10 inspiring women in her country and has achieved a total of 25 awards internationally and nationally for her ambition, such as the 2020 winner of the Distinguished Aerospace Alumna Award; an award for those who made an outstanding progress in their career and has does research and innovation that significantly impacts the industry. Currently, she is an Ambassador for the Solar Impulse Foundation to address environmental challenges and serves as an expert for their solution evaluation for the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions. Furthermore, Quraishi volunteers as an aviation STEM instructor where she educates underprivileged school children about aviation, inspiring future generations of leaders in the field. Qureshi plans to place her device on commercial sale in 2025 and continue to perfect her craft until it becomes a reality for the aerospace industry.

Why Did I Choose to Research Sarah Qureshi?

I chose to research Sarah Quraishi because I find her career success and ambition inspiring, especially as Pakistani woman in STEM myself. Her success breaks the gender stereotypes in Pakistan and what Pakistan can do as a country itself. I find it inspiring how she is a mother and CEO at the same time, depicting that you achieve your goals and do anything as long as you have the passion for it.

Works Cited

Aerospace and Aviation Alumni Awards. (n.d.). Retrieved May 3, 2024, from

Dr Sarah Qureshi: Tackling the biggest environmental issue you’ve never heard of! Welcome to Cranfield University. (n.d.)

Masood Latif Qureshi - Aero Engine Craft (Pvt) Ltd. | LinkedIn. (2021).

Sarah Qureshi. Pakpedia. (2021, May 28).

Release, P. (2020, October 22). “we have a revolutionary idea that could change the way the aviation industry Works”Dr. Sarah Qureshi, founder and CEO, Aero Engine Craft. When Where How Pakistan.

Sarah Qureshi - Aero Engine Craft (PVT) ltd. LinkedIn. (n.d.)

“The elon musk of aviation”: Meet Sarah Qureshi, inventor of the world’s first green aircraft. Woman Power Magazine. (n.d.).

Team – AeroEngineCraft. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2024, from

NUST alumna builds world’s first eco-friendly aircraft engine. NUST. (n.d.).

This article was published on 6/1/24