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Chairman's Annual Report - 12th November 2013

The first student conference organised by our Association was held on the same day as the annual general meeting about an year ago at City University. The participants Nathan Arrowsmith (University of Sheffield), Roshain Gaind (City University), Chris Roadaway (University of the West of England), Philip Oates (University of Salford) and Cameron Stewart & Paul Fennessy (both from University of Hertfordshire) were welcomed by the then Dean, School of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences Professor Chris Atkin. Dr Mike Jacobs, Dr Mike West and Professor Moji Moatamedi judged the overall quality of the presentations and concluded that the joint winners were Nathan Arrowsmith & Cameron Stewart but all the presenters were rewarded with cash prizes in addition to being awarded Certificates. They were then treated to a conducted tour of the laboratory facilities by the resident PhD students. My thanks to our secretary Dr Simon Prince for not only mooting the idea of a student conference in the first place but also for making all the domestic arrangements at City University.

Our Association was one of the proud sponsors of the “Aeroelasticity & Fluid Structure Interaction” session at the annual Multiphysics Conference held on Thursday 13th – Friday 14th December in Lisbon. As the Conference Director, I took great delight in overseeing the entire proceedings and the event being brought to a successful conclusion under the presidency of Professor Moji Moatamedi. As expected, all the papers were of a very high standard and the three which exclusively focussed towards aerospace were “Coupled Fluid-dynamical and Structural Analysis of a mono-axial microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) Accelerometer” by Cammarata Alessandro, Lizzio Giovanni & Petrone Giuseppe from University of Catania in Italy, “Numerical simulation for cracks detection using the finite elements method (application on aeronautical parts)” by Salim Bennoud, Zergoug Mourad & Saad Dahlab from University of Blida in Algeria and “Aeroelastic predictions using a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) based harmonic balance solver” by Richard Hayes & Simão Marques from Queen's University Belfast.

The next technical event was held in the Accis Seminar Room 2, Queen’s Building at University of Bristol on Friday 22nd February with the delegates being welcomed by the Head of Aerospace Engineering and Professor of Aerospace Materials Ian Bond. With 26 full-time academics, 30 post-doctoral researchers and 90 postgraduates including those on taught MSc programmes, their aerospace discipline can claim to be one of the biggest in the country. Advanced non-linear dynamics, theory of chaos and optimisation methods are covered in the curriculum delivered at undergraduate level and the Capstone fourth year design is supported by Airbus, AgustaWestland and Astrium with further industry collaboration via EADS Innovation Works.

Professor of Aerospace Materials Hua-Xin Peng leads the Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science (ACCIS) which was established in 2007 and concentrates on studies relating to multifunctional composites, novel microstructures; design, analysis and failure modes; intelligent structures; composite processing and characterisation. The vast majority of the focus is at the conceptual stage equivalent to technology readiness levels of 1 – 3 with 9 being ready to commence manufacture. ACCIS is also linked to the Bristol Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information (NSQI), which houses an array of experimental facilities including a vibration isolation table which is supported on two sets of air springs in series resting on a strong concrete base.

Airbus Sir George White Chair of Aerospace Engineering Professor Jonathan Cooper discussed the challenges of using computational fluid dynamic (CFD) methods to simulate gusts of the (1 – cosine) type in addition to continuation approach methods for stable and unstable cases. The multiphysics aspects of coupling CFD codes with those of the finite element (FE) ones in conjunction with efficient mesh generation schemes are being studied with a view to better understand the fluid-structure interactions in more detail. Amongst the impressive measurement equipment available for wind tunnel testing purposes is a Particle Image Velocimeter (PIV) which effectively computes the kinematic parameters of illuminated flow elements. Reduction of drag is being validated in the laminar flow transonic wind tunnel with a view to perhaps introducing greener regional aircraft in the future. One interesting test rig was a rectangular framework structure representing a joined wing aircraft on which static and dynamic tests are to be conducted. Surrogate modelling methods are being compared to the ‘legacy’ techniques as well.

On behalf of the AAU, my heartfelt thanks to Ian Bond and Jonathan Cooper for making the last Friday in February most enlightening to all visitors.

I would also like to thank the Careers and Education Manager at the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) Rosalind Azouzi for alerting our members to the new MSc Aerospace Bursary Programme launched by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) which is being project-managed by the RAeS in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering. As part of the Aerospace Growth Partnership, the UK aerospace industry and Government have committed £3 million each over three years to help recruit talented people who want to build careers in aerospace, but need financial backing to study at Masters level. A bursary will be available for students to cover the cost of tuition fees up to a maximum of £9,500. For further information including nationality restrictions, eligible courses and how to apply, please visit http://www.raeng.org.uk/education/aeromsc.htm

This scheme complements the RAeS’s existing Centennial Scholarship fund, which was created in 2003 to provide financial support to both teams and individuals of any nationality undertaking activities that will benefit and encourage careers or research in the field of aeronautics, aerospace and aviation management, including STEM programmes to encourage young people's interest in aerospace and aviation. There are no nationality restrictions in this case and the MEng year of undergraduate aerospace degree programmes are eligible, as well as others in air transport and various specialist groups within the RAeS. For information about the Centennial Scholarship fund including eligibility criteria and application forms, please visit http://www.aerosociety.com/Careers-Education/centennial

You may also be aware the RAeS offers universities and colleges free careers and Curriculum Vitae (CV) workshops to help students with job search advice for placements and graduate employment in the aerospace and aviation sectors, and ‘speedy’ CV reviews for workshop attendees to get feedback on their CVs. This is in addition to the 1-2-1 service which is offered at the RAeS office in London and by telephone for students who cannot easily travel to London. All student members are strongly encouraged to benefit from their Careers Services and be part of the Society’s commitment to providing practical support to those who are seeking employment in aerospace or aviation. Rosalind was instrumental in organising a “Careers in Aerospace Live 2013” event at the RAeS headquarters (HQ) in Hamilton Place last Friday (08 Nov) for the benefit of all members of the public. Her constant alerting of members of our Association to these key activities is much appreciated.

The meeting on Tuesday 12th July at Martell House, Cranfield was arranged by our Secretary, Dr Simon Prince as he is currently on secondment to the UK Aerodynamics Centre which is the home for developing and maintaining aerodynamic capability in the UK. This is a joint venture between Government and industry to achieve a step change in aerodynamic capability and to improve the UK’s future in the aerospace sector. It is the first step of a long-term Government foresight aimed at maintaining our prominence as a leading nation in aerodynamics. The Chief Aerodynamicist Frank Ogilvie outlined the plans by revealing the roadmap for the future based on the current predictions of steady growth in the air transport sector up to the year 2030. Frank was the Chief Engineer on the A380 programme when he was at Airbus Toulouse. The facilities at Martell House were offered as a HQ for the AAU, for use as a venue for meetings or events. In addition it was agreed that the AAU would work with the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) staff to ensure that the ATI web site had a prominent link to the AAU, and that close links should be established. The visit was concluded with a conducted tour of the Cranfield University’s air traffic control tower with a beautiful view of the runway that sunny afternoon.

This meeting was attended by the Executive Director of the Engineering Professors’ Council (EPC) Susan Kay who offered valuable suggestions towards improving our web site. After a most productive discussion, the Committee did not hesitate to accept her offer of the EPC hosting our site in the future. Thanks to the strengthened relations, the Vice Chairman Professor Moji Moatamedi and I were delighted to accept an invitation to attend an EPC Retreat at University of Chester. It was held over a two-day period (4th – 5th September) and in addition to the many matters discussed, the visitors were treated to a conducted tour of the new faculty of Science and Engineering at Thornton Science Park which was acquired by the University earlier this year. The site has been home to Shell UK’s exploration and research centre since the 1940s and is about a twenty minute drive from the main Chester campus. The faculty offers degrees in engineering courses and has active research collaborations with industrial partners which feed into undergraduate teaching.

The batting order for this afternoon’s annual AAU student conference is:

Benjamin Mohankumar – Manchester University “Computational Analysis of a Co-Flow Jet on a Multi-Element Inverted Airfoil in Ground Effect”

Chenchen Wu – University of Hertfordshire “Noise Reduction in the Vicinity of Airports”

Phyllida Yarwood – Salford University “Using Finite Element Analysis to Predict the Failure of Adhesively Bonded Aluminium Lap-Shear Joints of Varying Over-lap”

Projwal Sharma – University of Hertfordshire “Airship Development using CFD and Parametric Approach”

Michael Robert Johnson – Manchester University “Experimental Studies on Shock-Jet Interactions at Mach 1.9: Effect of Varying Jet Gases”

Samuel Faulder – Cardiff University, “Mechanical Forces due to Lightning Strikes to Aircraft-Development of a Pseudo-Stereo Digital Image Correlation Technique”

Sotiris Komodromos – Cardiff University, “Optimum Design of Aerospace Structures using Composite Materials in regard to Lightning Strikes”

Thomas Fell – University of Liverpool, “Development of a Real-Time Tablet Based Pilot Cueing Aid System for Prevention of Loss of Control in Degraded Visual Environments”

I am now well into my second term serving in the Council of the Royal Aeronautical Society and our forging of relationships with the learned societies and industrial partners goes from strength to strength. The global community needs to appreciate that all of us who work in the aerospace sector, speak with one voice to ensure a safe, secure and sustainable future.

As always, I would like to emphasise that none of this would have been possible had it not been for the unlimited support I received from the members and the Executives, especially President John Farley OBE, Honorary Fellow Dr Mike Jacobs and Vice President Dr Mike West for their invaluable guidance & wisdom, Vice Chairman Professor Moji Moatamedi for coming to my aid on every occasion I needed assistance, Secretary Dr Simon Prince for handling the countless administrative tasks, Treasurer Dr Andrew Lewis for acting as the centre point for the student conference and for excellent stewardship of our coffer, Stephanie Jones from the RAeS for auditing our accounts and Communications Officer Paul Hogan for his contributions. My heartfelt thanks once again to all concerned for continued success of our Association.

Dr Thurai Rahulan
AAU Chairman

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