Salil first joined Nova through the Work Experience Program at the end of 2020, as he was completing his Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Sydney.
After graduating and completing the program in March 2021, he commenced as a graduate engineer with Nova at Williamtown. As a graduate engineer, he was primarily working as a Compliance and Assurance Engineer under the Chief Engineer in the Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems Project Office (AEWCSPO) (now the Airborne Surveillance Control and Intelligence Systems Project Office (ASCISPO)).
“That rotation gave me great initial exposure to Defence and the defence industry, working closely with people from the RAAF, Boeing Defence Australia, the APS, and of course many other Novans,” Salil said.
Towards the end of his rotation, Salil became interested in exploring a career in Test & Evaluation (T&E) at Nova. Under the guidance of his graduate mentor, Mark Wagstaff, Salil completed the Nova Certificate IV in Test & Evaluation in October 2022.
The Aerospace, Surveillance and Response branch Integrated Work Project (ASR IWP) were in search of a Flight Test Engineer (FTE) to support test activities on the E-7A Wedgetail.
“We realized that we had a unique opportunity to help develop the career of a younger Novan to become part of the next generation of FTE’s,” - Paul Mulcahy, ASR IWP Delivery Manager.
Following a highly competitive EOI process, Salil was chosen for the development program, thanks in part to the knowledge he’d gained about the Wedgetail and the enterprise that supports it during his time in ASCISPO.
“This role was exactly what I was looking for – a role that gave me more direct exposure to aircraft, and allowed me to get a foot in the door of the T&E field – and had the added bonus of continuing my time with the E-7A platform from a different perspective,” Salil said.
Nova funded Salil to attend a three-week Operational Test and Evaluation course at the USA National Test Pilot School in the Mojave Desert.
After completing the course, Salil was awarded his ARDU Category D Operational Evaluator Aircrew (OEA) qualification and flew his first flight as the test director.
“In the 10 months I’ve been at ARDU, I’ve had the pleasure of flying on five E-7A flight tests, three of which I had the role of Test Director (the flight test team member responsible for ensuring that the test runs safely and according to plan), with almost 30 hours on this platform,” said Salil.
Although he’s only been working in the field for a short time, Salil has had significant opportunities for further interaction with ARDU personnel, which is great for broader Nova/ARDU relationship-building, and the opportunity for T&E development flights on PC-21 and King Air aircraft in addition to his E-7A flight test experience. Salil said he’s really excited for what his future in T&E holds.
“I would highly encourage all Novans, especially grads and early career professionals, to consider T&E as a potential career path. Nova has truly supported my career goals, and I am truly grateful for the investment in my professional development.”
Nova Systems is proud to be supporting the next generation of flight test engineers.