Luke Spiteri is a Fatigue and Damage Tolerance Engineer based in the UK, working on the wings of A320-Family aircraft. Luke reached the final of Fly Your Ideas in 2013 with Team CLiMA as a student at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia, and is now mentoring a team in the 2019 competition. Keep reading to learn how Fly Your Ideas helped Luke’s career soar to new heights!
You were a runner-up in 2013 for your idea to develop aircraft fueled by a blend of sustainably produced liquefied biomethane and liquefied natural gas (Bio-LNG). Tell us about your experience of the competition!
Looking back at it a few years on, the experience still feels surreal and remains a highlight of my time at university! I am still staggered by the support from my university and our local industry. To develop our idea, we 3D printed and tested it in the Wind Tunnel, completed structural and aerodynamic computational simulation, performed hands-on testing with cryogenic liquids and attended the Australian International Air Show to gauge interest and seek feedback. We were fortunately selected to present our ideas in Round 3 to a panel of Airbus and airline representatives including Charles Champion, former Head of Engineering. The competition opened my eyes to the opportunities presented by the aerospace industry. The experience of walking through the A380 Final Assembly Line and seeing six A380s wingtip to wingtip was something I will never forget!
Did having Airbus Fly Your Ideas on your CV help you when you began looking for a career?
The competition was a big help when starting my career because it provided an opportunity to demonstrate and develop essential career skills – both technical and interpersonal. I was able to regularly refer to or reflect on these experiences and provide an interesting point of discussion during interviews.
Tell us about your work as a Wing Fatigue and Damage Tolerance Engineer. Do you incorporate the skills you learnt with Fly Your Ideas into your work?
My role, developing ideas for aircraft modifications specific to A320-Family aircraft, closely reflects the process undertaken as part of Fly Your Ideas from concept generation through to feasibility testing and product delivery. A self-driven mindset, communication skills, stakeholder engagement and the development of agreed requirements into achievable objectives, as practiced through Fly Your Ideas, have given me a good foundation from which to continue to develop.
You’re mentoring an Electrification team this year. What excites you about the Electrification category?
With increasing demands for sustainable, connected and personalised travel, Electrification is a rapidly growing segment in the aerospace industry. In addition to industry leaders including Airbus investing in electric aircraft development programmes such as E-Fan X, start-ups are developing new electric regional aircraft of their own. This makes the entire industry an exciting place to be, on the cusp of a step change in technology and commercial air travel.
What advice would you give to Round 2 teams hoping to mirror your success?
Keep going, talk to people, talk to more people and keep going! The ideas, feedback and support that you can get from your peers, colleagues and industry are limitless. Use the resources around you and don’t be afraid of suggesting ideas and asking questions.