Heidi Moore, as she describes it, is an advocate for pilots who will fly one of Lockheed Martin’s flagship aircraft. Since she graduated from Purdue’s flight program in 2004, she has worked on Lockheed’s F-16 Pilot-Vehicle Interface (PVI) team as a systems engineer.
“My job is to listen to our customers, hear about their needs in the field and figure out what they need in order to do combat better in defense of freedom,” Moore said.
She uses that information to configure the cockpit to help achieve the pilot community’s goals.
“With all of the F-16’s capabilities, we have to get creative. We have to think outside the box and still stay in line with design philosophies,” Moore said.
The process relies heavily on good communication skills as well as an understanding of an airplane’s systems, both of which she worked on as a Purdue student.
It was as a student that she first heard of Lockheed Martin. She and her co-pilot for the Women’s Air Race Classic helped the team become an officially recognized student organization on campus, complete with a ground crew. They also met with Lockheed to discuss team sponsorship options.
After touring facilities in Ft. Worth, Texas, Moore knew she wanted to work for the company. And now that she has been there for nine years, she has been nominated for Lockheed’s Advanced Technical Leadership Program. She is part of a new T-X competition to build the next fighter training airplanes.
“It’s a good fit for me,” she said. “I was a flight instructor at Purdue. We want to help the student pilot think quickly and not have as big of a learning curve transitioning from undergraduate pilot training to advanced jet training. Their first flight in single-seat fifth generation fighters (F-22 and F-35) must be as safe as possible.”
While Moore loves flying – she wishes she could be a full-time aerobat – she only recently had the chance to fly the F-16. A customer coordinated the event, and she was able to perform a few aerobatic maneuvers and experience 9Gs.
“It was so amazing. It was one of the best days of my life,” she said. “I wanted to stay up in the air as long as possible.
Heidi Moore’s rules for a successful life:
- “God gets the glory for everything good in my life.”
- Always have a teachable spirit. I can learn something from everyone I work with.
- Don’t always look to the people ahead of you to show you the way. Sometimes you have to carve out your own path.
- Your life and experiences are what you make of them. Embrace the things that come your way.
- Good things take time to grow. It won’t all be easy, but the perseverance pays off.
- Learn how to invest and save for future. It’s never too early to start.
- Don’t define yourself by mistakes even if other people do. Keep moving forward because sometimes what seems like a failure can become your greatest success.