Posted: Mon 27th Jun 2016

National Award For Aeronautical Engineering Students /
This article is old - Published: Monday, Jun 27th, 2016

TWO university of South Wales (USW) students have won an award at national aircraft design competition. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Chris Dempster, 21, from Lydney in Gloucestershire, and Nathan Davies, 22, from Newport, Gwent, won the Most Innovative Design award at the recent IT FLIES UK Annual Aircraft Design and Handling Competition, which was held at the University of Swansea. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The annual competition, which is organised by the Merlin Flight Simulation Group, sees students who design an aircraft as part of their university course have their concepts flight tested in an engineering flight simulator by leading test pilots. Chris and Nathan are third year BEng (Hons) Aeronautical Engineering students. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The evolution of an aircraft design idea involves countless hours of conceptual design, calculations, laboratory testing and simulations until it is ultimately being flight tested and certified,” said Ilias Lappas, their supervisor and Course Leader of the BEng (Hons) Aeronautical Engineering Course at USW. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Throughout this process many promising designs fail to translate into practical solutions due to poor flying and handling qualities and this is the real value of the experienced test pilots as they provide the students with a link to the real world, in addition with invaluable feedback on how their designs can be further optimised.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Chris and Nathan work on designs to reduce the drag encountered by a large cargo aircraft. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The whole journey has taught me a lot in regards to applying my knowledge learnt in university towards a practical application and the feedback gained from the competition has only but added to my list experiences, which is constantly growing in preparation towards a career in my field,” said Nathan. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“This will help my career as it has given me an analytical and troubleshooting approach to problems I may later encounter during my career, due to the intricate nature of the program used alongside the flight simulator and the need for very high levels of accuracy, not only in calculations but in the approach to conceptual design,” Chris added. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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