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L3 Aviation has manufactured jobs and products in the Suncoast for 50 years

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SARASOTA, Fla. - Located on Cattlemen Road in Sarasota, L3 Aviation Products has been thriving in the aircraft manufacturing industry for fifty years.

“Here in Sarasota, our core product is flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders,” said L3 Aviation Products President, Thomas Schmutz.

Most people know flight data recorders as the black boxes installed in  every commercial airliner. Schmutz told ABC 7, L3 produces a majority of the black box recorders in the market.

“Here in the Sarasota plant about 75 percent of the products we make are focused on the commercial side of aviation, the other 25 percent being military.”

In Florida, the aviation manufacturing industry is booming and many companies are choosing to relocate to our state while those already here, like L3, have been growing.

“We have seen an 18 percent increase in our employee level in the last five years and we've seen double digit growth in our revenues over the last three years,” said Schmutz.

L3's Vice President of Sales, Ralph DeMarco, says one of the reasons Florida is attractive to the aircraft industry is because of the available workforce.

“We have a large talent pool of employees to draw from and it is a good technology base, and I believe we have a good university system that supports industry,” said DeMarco.

Aviation companies like L3 are good for the workforce in the state because they provide jobs with higher paying wages.

“Not only do we manufacture recorders but we also invest in research and development activities so we are constantly researching and building new products that we can introduce into the market,” said Schmutz.

In the last 50 years, L3 Aviation Products has built over 80,000 black box recorders. The 50,000th recorder produced in Sarasota was pulled and is now in the Smithsonian National Museum.