Helen Christodoulou

21 Dec Helen Christodoulou

“I started applying for placements as early as possible, and applied to as many as I could. I did Mechanical Engineering with Automotive Design, so Agusta Westland, one the world’s largest helicopter companies, seemed a bit unlikely! However, after a huge of amount of help and support from the PCC, who were patient enough to go through draft after draft of my CV, and several hours spent on helicopter research, I was given an interview. At the interview there was a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, despite an extremely high level of security on site. We were taken on an amazing tour of the site, which covers a huge space in Yeovil; the most impressive thing being the sheer size of the helicopters, and being able to see a helicopter in for updates that has spent the last few years thousands of miles away.”

Why I loved it:

“Through only having a few undergrads and grads the atmosphere was very close and friendly, and my supervisor, manager and HR manager was very welcoming and supportive, as well as incredibly knowledgeable.”

What I learned:

“My area qualified these systems, which meant collecting the evidence to prove that the system could and would reliably do what it should. The projects involved writing a Subsidiary Report for the Merlin Mk2, and using a huge database called DOORS to qualify the flotation bottles (which hold high pressure helium) on the AW159 (Future Lynx). This involved a LOT of paperwork, mainly from the suppliers, covering everything from technical drawings to test procedures, photographs and results. I felt like I’ve learnt a lot about the company – mainly that everything in the aerospace and defence industry uses so many acronyms that when you speak to your supervisors it can sound like a foreign language!”

About my experience/Tips for students:

“I would definitely recommend the job. I did my first six months in Marine and General Airframe Systems. Then I worked on two projects, both based around emergency flotation systems. This basically meant four floats which will inflate if the helicopter has to ditch, causing it to stay afloat while the pilots and passengers escape to life rafts.”