Our scheme has supported many of our existing Team Leaders and senior staff members through their L3 journey.
- Martin Bracewell - Avionics Staff Engineer
I grew up in a small corner of Lancashire, where I first caught the engineering “bug”. Having started helping my Dad designing and building one of the most hi-tech cricket score boards to ever grace the Lancashire League, I moved on to really discover engineering at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School. It was here that my electronics teacher turned that interest into a goal – to lead a team to deliver a major engineering project. My passion for Aviation grew, and I was lucky enough to complete my Private Pilot License shortly before heading to University.
I studied Avionics Systems Engineering at the University of Bristol – a highly specialized course combining Electronics, Computer Science and Aerospace. Through the course, I was lucky enough to be introduced to some of the major players in the industry, with the AVDASI (Aerospace Vehicle Design and Systems Integration) project in conjunction with Airbus in Filton in the 3rd year, and final year lecturing from GE Aviation in Avionics Systems. Each summer, I worked for different companies, starting at Stonehouse Logic back home. My second summer made use of the University connections with GE Aviation, with a summer placement working with their Systems Engineering Team. My third summer was my first introduction to what would become L3 Commercial Aviation.
I applied for a three month paid placement with L3 Commercial Training Solutions. On my tour of the facility, I saw the Full Flight Simulator product, something that nobody ever forgets. As a product it perfectly combined my passion for engineering and aviation. After interview, I was placed in the Avionics Team in the Aircraft Simulation Group – part of the Software Engineering department.
Typically for L3, I was instantly hands-on, working on a live project updating an older aircraft type into the latest generation Full Flight Simulator product portfolio – I certainly wasn’t making tea! As part of the Avionics simulation team, I was responsible for developing software to model aircraft communication systems and interface to aircraft hardware via industry standard databus technologies. My success in that project over the summer earned me a place on the Sponsored Student scheme, with a bursary paid by the company to support me through my continuing studies, and the promise of employment after graduation (provided I kept up my grades of course).
After graduating with a Masters in Avionics Systems Engineering and joining the company I’ve never looked back. I continue to work in the avionics simulation team, within Software Engineering, expanding my experience into many different avionics systems (from radar, TCAS and TAWS to radio navigation aids and display systems) on almost every aircraft type in our training portfolio. My day to day role is very diverse, and encompasses the whole lifecycle – from requirements capture and supporting bidding, software design and test of simulation models, to interfacing with hardware and finally in service support.
Being part of the graduate scheme working towards registering as a Chartered Engineer with the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) really helped me plan and measure my career and professional development. As I gained competence in my day to day role (progressing from Graduate Engineering through the ranks to Senior Engineer) the scheme and the UK SPEC ensured I kept developing my “non-technical” skills – planning, budgeting, presenting and the like.
The skills I’d learned through the scheme, and the opportunities it had ensured I made full use of, resulted in my biggest engineering achievement so far. After promotion to Principal Engineer, I took on the Lead Engineer role for a major development – bringing a brand new aircraft into our flagship RealitySeven Full Flight Simulator product portfolio. This role saw me leading a large team of multi-disciplinary engineers, working together to deliver on time, and on budget.
Using the evidence of competence I gained through the success of that project, I was able to achieve Chartered Engineer status with the IET. My involvement with the Professional Development Scheme (PDS) didn’t end there. I am now one of the team of mentors, working to make sure our new intake of Engineers can get the most out of the opportunities working for L3 brings. Those opportunities keep on coming, and I am now a Staff Engineer, leading a major transformation for our entire Customer Experience. I cannot share too much, but I am confident it’s going to redefine how our Customers interact with our products, and really give us a competitive advantage in the market. That role has really called upon the “non-technical” skills I’ve developed as part of the PDS, working with Commercial, Sales & Marketing, IT, Customer Services and Finance.
L3 Commercial Aviation is a division of L3 Technologies, a hugely diverse company providing wide opportunities through many different sectors. It was amazing to hear on one of the regular visits from the leadership of L3 Technologies, just what enthusiasm the corporation has for innovation, and how it sees new graduates as a way to invigorate that innovation. In my opinion, that passion to think differently and work together to shape and grow our company is the main reason people stick around here for so long!
Whilst studying for my A-Levels, I wrote to numerous companies regarding sponsorship and recruitment opportunities. Following an interview I was offered a place on the company’s Graduate Scheme. I then went off to City University to study Aeronautical Engineering. I also joined the Royal Aeronautical Society around this time.
I spent a summer working in the Performance Group and the following year I completed an industrial placement spending time in Program Management, Hardware Engineering, Avionics and Systems Integration. This was an invaluable experience, getting to know how the business operated and making useful contacts.
I graduated in with a BEng (Hons) degree in Aeronautical Engineering and joined the company full-time working in Hardware Engineering. I was soon involved in the development of control loading systems and joined the team that developed the RealitySeven Full Flight Simulator platform.
Around this time, I also became heavily involved in the engineering toolset, including data management. I also continued to take part in organized courses on the company’s Graduate Development Program, and with the aid of a company mentor, collected competencies and experience as part of my recorded Professional Development.
After five years full-time employment, I became Mechanical Team Leader, interacting with the Electrical Team Leader and Hardware Engineering Manager to ensure projects were adequately resourced, managing budgets and personnel, whilst retaining input on the technical side and evolving our business tools and processes to suit current demands.
A couple of years later, I finally found the time to compile and distil my competencies down into an application for Chartership with the Royal Aeronautical Society. This wasn’t as difficult as first feared, the problem being more how to condense the best examples into consumable material for the review board. The company supported me in this process by reviewing my application and putting me through a mock interview. Thankfully both the mock and real interviews went well and I was subsequently awarded my Chartership.
Three years after that, I became Hardware Engineering Manager and it is in this role that I now continue to develop my leadership and managerial experience.
- Chris Sanhaji MEng ARAeS
I graduated from University of Surrey back in 2007, albeit not officially until Summer 2008, reason being my university used to cram the Masters in to 6 months! I undertook the Industrial Placement of my 4.5 year sandwich Aerospace Engineering course at THALES Training & Simulation Ltd. (TTSL), Gatwick Road, Crawley. A significant year for me as it was essentially the start of my professional career. I had several responsibilities during the year, the most prominent being an aerodynamic software update which led me to work out on-site at Heathrow and then Prague – it was this experience which provided a great insight into the update and delivery of a Full Flight Simulator and ultimately created my passion for the industry. Before ending my placement, I was greatly fortunate to be awarded sponsorship which helped fund my final years of study! I also returned to TTSL to undertake a summer placement for my Master’s Individual Project.
After taking some time to travel after university, I started work in Spring 2008 and I’m still here so something must be going right! I completed a 4 year Graduate Development Programme (GDP), which provided training courses in several areas and this laid the foundations for my portfolio that I will use to apply for Chartership. During this time I had a mentor who was going through his route to Chartership so I was able to see this process to completion, giving me an understanding of what is required. My primary role continued from where I left my placement, within the Flight Performance team, a role which has presented many challenges and one in which I am continually learning. I have now become one of the more experienced staff members in a team which has changed dramatically since starting here.
Numerous site trips have seen me work in several locations around the world… Toulouse, Tunis, Miami, Bangkok, Moscow, Venice, Taipei, Chengdu, Prague, Beijing, Melbourne and Istanbul. I am looking forward to more! It is these experiences, at the business end of programmes, which have greatly helped enhance my skill set and knowledge base.
Now, as Systems Lead Engineer for a major development I am being challenged like never before but this is significantly enhancing my professional development and something which I know I have L3’s support with. The company, but more importantly the people around me have fostered a culture of development and this has brought me to where I am today.
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