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Cranfield University MSc Aerospace Vehicle Design

ERA was invited to attend the Critical Design Review for the Cranfield University MSc Aerospace Vehicle Design 2018–2019 October intake that was held at the Cranfield Campus on 30 April. The event, one of two held each year, was highly informative and provided an opportunity to showcase the students’ efforts over the past six months.

The 2018-2019 Aerospace Vehicle Design Project challenged 84 students to undertake detailed design work for the avionics, aircraft systems and structures of a concept hybrid-electric Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft named the V-18 Starling. The project was undertaken for a period of six months, beginning with a finalised conceptual design and ending at the preliminary detailed design phases. A review of the work achieved to date was presented to a collective audience of industry representatives, a number of whom were graduates of the course themselves across many years.

The V-18 concept is envisioned to perform better than both rotary and light fixed-wing business type aircraft with the advantage of greater speed during cruise than current helicopters while providing the same vertical take-off and landing advantages over fixed wing types. The detailed presentations provided guests with real insight into the work of the course members over the past six months and also gave the students an opportunity to engage with industry and discuss the project as well as learn more about the workplace aspects of their field of study. As a member, ERA engages with the University regularly in various areas of research as well as supporting the operational flying activities of the Universitiy's fleet of experimental type aircraft in much the same way as we do for our more conventional airline members.

ERA was also exclusively invited to tour the UK’s first Digital Air Traffic Control Centre which opened at Cranfield in December 2018. The innovative technology replicates what can be seen through the windows of a traditional air traffic control tower and enables smarter approaches to air traffic control by digitising and integrating airport functions while improving a controller’s situational awareness, enabling quick and informed decisions. The new system provides controllers with a 360-degree view of the airport through monitors arranged through 150-degrees, which simulate the traditional visual control room environment and the ability to zoom in on aircraft, improving visibility, and at the same time making the use of binoculars somewhat redundant.

For further information, please contact or see the Cranfield web pages below