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Chairman's Annual Report - 21st October 2016

After the completion of the Annual General meeting (AGM) on Friday 23rd October 2015, the new season commenced with the third annual student conference in the recently opened Engineering & Computing Building at Coventry University. I am very grateful to Dr Mike Bromfield for hosting this day of Odyssey and making available excellent facilities for our events. As always, since all the presentations were of a very high standard, the three judges Professor Mike West, Dr Simon Prince and Professor Moji Moatamedi, did not find it easy to select a winner from:

Matthew Johnson (Investigation of aerodynamic flows around airfoils with flaps) and Ayman Keir (BMFA Heavy Lift Challenge Design of a UAV Propulsion system, Performance optimisation and propeller noise abatement) from Sheffield Hallam University,

Bethany Fleetwood (Runway Performance of Aircraft) from Salford University,

Aidan Nicholls (Design, Develop and Build a Micro Jet Engine) and Wajahat Ahsan (Vortex Flow in a Hybrid Rocket Motor) from Kingston University,

Sebastian Hunter (Towards the Definition of Manufacturing Tolerance for UAV Systems using CFD: Panel Gaps) and Anthony Murira (Red Bull Air Race: Flightpath Optimisation - Plan vs Actual) from Coventry University,

Jonathan Berry (How increasing workload impacts on the decision making and accuracy of flying of differing levels of pilot experience) from Liverpool University,

Frazer Harland (Investigating the impacts of chevron exhaust nozzles on the airflow of gas turbine engines) and Danielle Patton (Effect of exhaust nozzle design on flow characteristics, flow mixing, engine noise and engine performance) from the University of Hertfordshire and

Rui Wu ( A multi-degree-of-freedom morphing aerofoil concept with a highly active trailing edge) from the University of Manchester.

There was a question and answer session at the end of each presentation and Aidan Nicholls was judged the overall winner with Jonathan Berry & Danielle Patton as equal runners-up and the third prize going to Frazer Harland. However, all the contestants were awarded certificates and rewarded with cash prizes. It was yet again a most enjoyable way to start the 2015 – 16 academic session.

It was an honour for me to be given the opportunity yet again to direct the tenth annual International Conference on Multiphysics which was held at Imperial College, London on Thursday 10th – Friday 11th December 2015. As in the past, the “Aviation and Automotive” session was sponsored by our Association. One particular presentation that was noteworthy involved a study by scientists from the University of Lille and Zodiac Aerospace involving a new methodology to estimate the fuel mass in an operating aircraft. This year’s conference will be held at the School of Management and Law in Winterthur, Switzerland on Thu 08 – Fri 09 December.

This year’s “Flight Simulation and Universities Seminar” with the Flight Simulation Group (FSG) of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) was held on Wednesday 30th March at Thales UK in Crawley. After the Committee meeting in the morning during which a number of issues were resolved, the presentations in the afternoon by academics Errikos Levis from Imperial College and Ilias Lappas from the University of South Wales, and students Gareth Green/Matt Hudson/Kristina Lindon from the University of Liverpool, Benjamin Lewis from the University of Manchester and Kouame Boris Joel Yao from the University of West of England were of absolutely outstanding quality. The detailed discussion by the audience consisting of personnel from the industry, the academia and the learned societies, each representing their perspectives for the future proved to be quite entertaining! It is incredible how much could be achieved in flight simulation at so little cost these days. A big thank you is in order to Technical Manager Neil Sears, RAeS’s FSG member Barry Tomlinson and Simulation Development Engineer at L-3 Link Simulation & Training John Carlton.

After the seminar, the visitors were treated to a guided tour of the facilities at Thales by Neil and his team members Gareth Stapylton, Peter Politik and Jonathan Denny who demonstrated a simulation of a combat rescue scenario. John and his team members George Watts, Waheed Khan, Dumitru Jobson and Stephen Mainardis took great delight in putting the visitors through their paces landing an A320 in the neighbouring facility. Both tours were perfectly co-ordinated and breathtakingly exciting. The finest aspect was perhaps the students exchanging contact info at the end of the day to pool together their resources and swap notes for future collaboration. Who knows, it might lead to a student initiated nationwide flying competition networked via their smart phones!

On Wednesday 1st June, the BBC posted a feature on the internet concerning the loss of the Tu-144 at the 1973 Paris Air Show and our Immediate Past President gave an excellent interview on the possible causes and the aftermath. After that event, the Tu-144 never flew outside the (then) Soviet Union. Although it was a commercial failure, the Tu-144 did find new life later as a supersonic research platform for NASA.

The Committee meeting held on Tuesday 5th July at the University of Hertfordshire to finalise arrangements for the Farnborough Air Show was followed by an afternoon seminar on aerospace materials. Discussions of thermoplastics based on polymer matrix and development of woven laminates for use in CFM’s Leap fan blades proved to be of particular interest along with potential applications of 3D graphene.

Members of our Association did a great job impressing upon the youngsters the excitement of aerospace in the Innovation Zone on Futures Day event held at the biennial Farnborough Air Show on Friday 15th July. A particular attraction at the Coventry University Stand was a presentation entitled “The Flying Classroom – Integrating Flight Dynamics Theory & Practice” given by Senior Lecturer and Flight Safety Researcher at Coventry University Dr Mike Bromfield FRAeS and former Civil Aviation Authority Test Pilot Dan Griffith who flight demonstrated the B727 spray aircraft at Farnborough. It explained how commercial-off-the-shelf technologies combined with an integrated programme of the instruction on flight dynamics has simultaneously enhanced student learning and experience by enabling wider participation at reduced costs.

Saturday 23rd July saw the sad passing away of the first president of our Association Dr John Barnes who died peacefully in his sleep. John was one of the handful of Founder Members of our Association and saw it grow from strength to strength. He played a major role in ensuring the bringing together of many in the aerospace business including the publishers.

One of the greatest legends (or the greatest?) in the aviation industry Joe Sutter passed away at the age of 95 on Tuesday 30th August. Although affectionately known as the “Father of the Boeing 747”, Joe was extremely modest and friendly despite being an awe inspiring leader with great foresight. I felt very honoured and privileged to have been given the opportunity by RAeS’s Seattle Chapter to meet and swap notes with him on an annual basis over 12 years. It is only through heart-to-heart conversations, one could fathom the enormous depth of knowledge Joe possessed and what it took to be someone who enabled air travel for the masses on a global scale.

The speakers scheduled for the fourth annual student conference this afternoon are:

Kiril Boychev (Development of a flight mechanics model for a hybrid air vehicle) from Glasgow University,

Charles Barclay-Hudson (Quantifying the effects of turbulence and developing a rating scale that can then be displayed to crew via a navigational display or instrument) from Liverpool University,

Melissa Ahmed (Analysis of a security louvre) from Salford University,

Melissa Garratt (Development and flight testing of a special release bracket) from the University of Hertfordshire and

Thomas Milward (Effectiveness of Angle of Attack Display in Simulated Loss of Control In Flight: LOC-I) from Coventry University.

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. I would especially like to thank President Professor Mike West and Immediate Past President John Farley OBE for their much needed guidance & wisdom, Treasurer Dr Andrew Lewis for keeping us pecuniarily solvent thanks to his excellent stewardship of our coffer in addition to organising the excellent annual student conference, Vice Chairman Professor Moji Moatamedi and our Web Master Dr Hassan Khawaja for their enormous help in maintaining our web site amongst other activities, and Secretary Dr Simon Prince for keeping us informed with the latest government policies on the future of aerospace. Thanks are also due to Dr David Philpott from ESDU for the careful audit of our financial accounts earlier today.

I feel greatly honoured and privileged to have served as your Chairman for the past ten years. This year is particularly important as it marks the sesquicentennial of the RAeS (which was established in 1866) with His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales as the Honorary President for this calendar year.

My heartfelt thanks once again to all my colleagues from member institutions and their students for our continued success.

Dr Thurai Rahulan
AAU Chairman

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The above photo with the AAU Chairman was taken in November 2014 during the annual Joe Sutter Lecture and Dinner event organised by the Seattle Chapter of the Royal Aeronautical Society. It was held at the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field.

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