Stan Stoev: My L3Harris Engineering Journey

by Stan Stoev on 01/15/2020

My story starts at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, where I obtained my BSc and MSc degrees in Aerospace Engineering. As part of the MSc curriculum, I had to undertake a three-to-six month placement. L3Harris was on my radar for some time, as I had learned about the company from a former TU Delft student who had done an internship at the company and went on to become a full-time employee.

Starting my role as an intern I was immediately blown away by the fact I was treated like a full-time employee. The project assigned to me was related to tuning the Motion Cueing Algorithm (MCA) of a Boeing 787 simulator for passing the Objective Motion Cueing Test (OMCT) while retaining a good subjective cueing fidelity. For me it was amazing that I was trusted to work on a full flight simulator, something I never thought I would do as a student. This allowed me to develop a greater understanding of how MCAs work, because I could clearly observe the effect of the changes I made in the simulator. Over the course of my placement I grew more interested in motion cueing and even later went on to do my master thesis in the same field.

The experience gained in my internship quite naturally lead me to joining the controls and motion team as a graduate engineer. Day-to-day my primary focus revolves around integrating the new electric motion systems supplied by E2M Technologies into our simulators. This includes interfacing the motion system with the rest of the simulator, tuning of the special effects for different aircraft baselines and performing tests for certification. This ensures that the motion meets the required performance standards while providing a safe and smooth operation.

While producing new flight simulators is a core part of our business, we also fully support existing devices in the field to ensure that they stay up-to-date with the latest regulations. Therefore, updating older simulators is also a key part of our business. I had the opportunity to be assigned to such a project on updating an A330 simulator for a customer in the Middle East. Working on this project has taught me a lot about the architecture of our simulators and the working principles of the control loading hardware and software. Working on site helps support a steep learning curve, since you must deal with problems of various nature in a short span of time.

One skill that you learn on site is how to effectively communicate with the customer. You have to continuously keep them informed on the progress and talk over any issues. I believe that the key to good customer service is good communication, hard work, continued support and further improvement. Putting the customer first will almost always guarantee you arrive at a solution beneficial for both parties. Holistically, we support the vision of creating safer skies; I see that I do this by ensuring that our simulators are performing as best they can. We get to provide our customer with better and safer devices that will improve the training the pilots of the future.

During my time at L3Harris I learned skills that I never thought I would have. For me, the key to using this opportunity is first being able to recognise where your knowledge is lacking. You can learn a lot by asking questions, so the most valuable thing you can do is communicating with colleagues and finding the right person to learn from. Here at L3Harris everyone is willing to help and transfer their knowledge to you since they want you to do a good job. It is a collective spirit within the company and was one of the main reasons why I wanted to come back after my placement.

In the end, when the time comes to test your work and actually fly the simulator that is when the job can be a hell of a lot of fun. My words of advice for anyone interested in the job would be to not hesitate and go for it. It is amazing.