Key Flylogix team member Christian Harris is currently on operations in the Shetlands as designated Safety Officer. Representing the next generation of aviation engineers, he’s taking a vital role in ensuring missions are carefully planned, organised, fully tested and safe.
“My core responsibility as Safety Officer is making sure we don’t endanger people on the ground. In addition to that, I’m general assistant to the pilot, helping with equipment setup and aircraft monitoring. We have a designated airspace and have to remain vigilant about potential incursions during the flight.”
Harnessing a passion for pioneering
A Master of Engineering specialising in aviation design, Christian explains how he was excited get on board with a cutting edge startup after graduation:
“From the start with Flylogix, I could see that it was clearly a very different type of outfit. Unmanned fixed-wing drones presented a really interesting opportunity. And very quickly, after visiting the site and seeing what it was all about, I was hooked and didn’t want to let the opportunity slip away.”
Working with a startup requires a diverse skillset
Startups demand adaptability, flexibility and a broad skillset. This is especially true of innovative tech startups. The whole Flylogix team need to have an understanding of aviation, the software, the hardware, running operations and project management. Christian explains the diversity of his role:
“On top of being Safety Officer and helping run operations, I’m also involved in the continuous evolution of our system. I work on developing processes and procedures, but also work on the aircraft itself – maintenance as well as design.
“I was particularly excited to be involved in developing a new fuselage which helped increase our range. 12 months ago, we had an endurance of about three and a half hours. Now we’re closer to five. It’s those incremental upgrades and efficiency modifications to the aircraft that keep us pushing the envelope. That’s what we’re always striving to do.”
Getting hands-on with the evolution of the aircraft
The practical side of engineering is one of the most exciting and attractive aspects of the job, comprising innovation and creativity. Christian is able to bring his unique skillset in rapid prototyping and Computer Aided Design (CAD) to help Flylogix make leaps forward.
“I’ve always very much enjoyed the hands-on side of engineering. Especially applying CAD and rapid prototyping, where you can conceptualise an idea then quickly make it tangible – in some cases on the same day. That’s incredibly exciting and very fresh.”
“3D printing has also become prevalent in engineering, something I have personal interest and experience in. That’s allowed me to develop new equipment for our aircraft. Prior to me joining, Flylogix hadn’t utilised 3D printing, but it’s allowed us to create our own new pieces of equipment, designed and manufactured by our software teams. We can then install them on the aircraft and test them in the air in a very short space of time.”
Joining a new team in the early stages means getting to make a difference
Taking a role with a start-up means getting to have a say. Some graduates opt for the safety of a bigger organisation. However, with small operations comes the opportunity to have a tangible impact on what’s happening. Christian explains how this makes the job so exciting:
“In a smaller company you can see the effects of your own work. It’s one of the reasons why I was so excited to join Flylogix. The impact of your work is much more distinct, and really, really rewarding.
“It’s also fantastic if you’re looking to broaden your skillset. You can get the opportunity to work in areas that you wouldn’t be able to in a highly specialised role at a large company. I don’t have to choose between operations, project management or manufacture. I get involved in everything. It makes for a far more interesting workload day to day. Keeps things interesting!”
Excitement and passion for the job is what drives the whole team. There’s joy to be had in designing and creating things that have never been made before. For Flylogix, pioneering is its own reward.