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Chairman's Annual Report - 24th October 2014

The new session started with the second student conference after the annual general meeting held on 12th November 2013. The Dean of the School of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences, Professor Chris Atkin, at City University welcomed the participants who were:

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"

Dr Mike West, John Farley OBE and Professor Moji Moatamedi judged the overall quality of the presentations, all of which were top class, and concluded that the winner was Thomas Fell. However, all the participants were rewarded with cash prizes in addition to being awarded certificates before being treated to a conducted tour of the laboratory facilities by the resident PhD students. I am grateful to Dr Simon Prince for making all the domestic arrangements at City University.

Our Association was yet again one of the proud sponsors of the "Aerospace & Multiphysics" session at the eighth annual Multiphysics Conference held on Thursday 12th - Friday 13th December 2013 in Amsterdam. As the Conference Director, I took great delight in overseeing the entire proceedings and promoting our Association on the international stage. As expected, all the papers were of a very high standard and the conference was brought to a successful conclusion under the presidency of Professor Moji Moatamedi.

I serve on the Committee of the Engineering Professors' Council (EPC) who decided to launch a new student competition in collaboration with the Incorporation of Hammermen of Glasgow which called for a 2000 word essay entitled "How does engineering contribute to the UK economy and how can that contribution be increased? Is there a role for UK engineering in higher education in making this happen?" Professors Mike Bramhall, Helen Atkinson, David Harrison and I were appointed judges and of the seventy or so entries received, the winner was the EngD student at Bristol University Laura Pickard, who delivered an excellent presentation at the EPC's annual Congress in response to Professor John Perkins' keynote speech on Engineering Skills in the UK. MEng student at Cardiff University, Eleanor Earl and PhD student at Cambridge University, Julia Attwood, were the runners-up and took part in the panel session after Laura's presentation.

This competition is being repeated again this academic year except that the 1,500 word essay entitled "Can engineers make a beneficial contribution to society?" must be accompanied by an appropriate one to two minute video clip which will also be assessed. I have been given the honour of being one of the judges once again and the closing date is 9th January 2015. On a most delightful note, I am very pleased to report that Professor Helen Atkinson FREng with whom I serve in the EPC Committee has been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year's Honours for her invaluable services to Engineering and Education. It is a most well deserved recognition for her efforts and warmly endorsed by all engineers.

The MSc bursary scheme for aerospace degree programmes developed by the RAeS, the Royal Academy of Engineering, leading companies and the Government is proving to be very successful since it was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron at the Farnborough International Air Show in July 2012. Funding for tuition fees for accredited courses became available for the 2013/14 academic year and is now helping to boost the supply of aeronautical engineering skills to the UK economy. It is a privilege to have been serving on RAeS's Council when this initiative was effected.

The "Flight Simulation and Universities Seminar" with the Flight Simulation Group (FSG) of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) was held on Tuesday 15th April in the Griffith Board Room in Harrison Hughes Building at the University of Liverpool. Amongst the items that were addressed during the customary committee meeting in the morning was the publicising of the Engineering Development Trust (EDT) Headstart programme which provides a summer school at Liverpool University for 17 year-olds interested in engineering, the Centennial Scholarship Fund and the Education and Skills seminar run by the RAeS. My thanks to the Society's Head of Skills and Careers Ms Rosalind Azouzi for bringing these matters to our attention.

Chris Hunter FRAeS CEng, Head of Technical Development at L-3 Link Simulation & Training Ltd, explained the current state of the flight simulation industry by introducing the Reality Seven Modular Concept where the motion system, the visual system, the aircraft module and the docking station are effectively interchangeable. The high tensile strength Mylar screen onto which the image is projected is very light but delicate and hence is easily scratched and damaged. It is held in place by suction onto a curved wall. The hydraulic actuation systems are being gradually replaced by electromechanical devices which has improved customer acceptance but further vibration & noise improvements are needed due to lack of viscous damping. There were noteworthy presentations from Nicholas Bojdo and Abdullah Desai from Manchester University, John Davis and Konstantin Vikhorev from Liverpool University, Dr Mike Bromfield from Coventry University and Kevin Ferguson from Glasgow University. One interesting observation was the poor safety record of autogyros due to the angle of attack exceeding the limits. The modelling of the wingless thrust compounded Sikorsky X2 and the winged lift compounded Eurocopter X3 were compared for simulation purposes. Most of the rotor blades nowadays sport cambered aerofoils.

The panel discussion finished with a suggestion that flight simulation should be made a mandatory part of the curriculum when accrediting degrees and that more final year projects should be directed towards such studies. The day ended with a tour of the fabulous flight simulation facilities in Harrison Hughes Building. Dr Chris Toomer offered to host the seminar next year at the University of the West of England. I am very thankful to the FSG Committee Member Barry Tomlinson and especially Liverpool University's Flight Simulation Laboratory Manager, Dr Mark White, for organising every aspect of this most productive and enjoyable day.

The photograph below shows a selection from the 26 strong audience at the seminar. Seated around the table from left to right are Professor Dave Allerton (Sheffield), Dr Xinjun Cui (Sheffield Hallam), Kevin Ferguson (Glasgow), Barry Tomlinson (RAeS), Dr Steve Wright (Leeds) and Dr Mohamad Askari (Kingston) with researchers from various disciplines seated in the background.

Photo - 2014 Annual Report

On the first day of June, Liverpool University conferred the title of an Honorary Visiting Professorship for a period of three years on our Vice President Dr Mike West for his academic input and continuing association with his old Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at his Alma Mater and sponsoring an annual prize for the students. Congratulations are in order for this most well deserved title.

Our Association exhibited at the Farnborough International Air Show once again this year thanks to the magnificent efforts of Ms Ann Dysiewicz and Dr Simon Prince from the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). This was a landmark event celebrating 100 years of aviation and our stand was located in the Innovations Zone which came into its own on Friday 18th July showcasing the very best in advanced engineering universities, Research & Technology Organisations and the agencies that support them. The visitors had the opportunity to learn about the future of aerospace in the rich and vibrant interactive area aimed at the younger generation to experience first-hand the career opportunities within the aerospace sector by talking to personnel from companies and universities. I am particularly grateful to three newly qualified aerospace graduates Daniel Beresford, Liam Puc and Timothy Smith who volunteered their services and provided impartial advice on education choices to many interested parties. It is hoped that the member universities will benefit a great deal from their efforts and I wish these youngsters the very best in their future endeavours.

The batting order for the third annual student conference this afternoon is:

Simon Hutt (Assesment of the Wear Properties of Carbon Nanotube - epoxy and graphene - epoxy composites) and Stephen Grigg (Assessment of Damage Detection in Composite Structures Using 3D Vibrometry) from Cardiff University,

Daniel J. Grinham (A Conceptual Design of a Ramjet Inlet and its Performance Assessment) from Sheffield Hallam University,

Oliver Witt (Design Manufacture and Test of UAV for BMFA Electric Lift Challenge) and Thomas Crabb (Commercial Aircraft Flying in Formation) from University of Salford,

Jana-Sabrina Stucke (Material Selection & FE Modelling of a Light Sport Aircraft Landing Gear) and Tobias Buedel (Constant Volume Combustion for Gas Turbine Engines) from the University of the West of England,

Harraj Marway (Solar-Fuel Cell Powered Aircraft) from the University of Hertfordshire,

Rui Wu (Elastic Composite Skin for Pure Shear Morphing Structures) from the University of Manchester, and

Rebecca Mateer (Modelling & Simulation of Small Scale helicopter operating to maritime training vessel) from the University of Liverpool.

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 John Farley OBE & Vice President Professor Mike West for their much needed wisdom, Vice Chairman Professor Moji Moatamedi and Secretary Dr Simon Prince for providing invaluable help, and our Treasurer Dr Andrew Lewis for keeping us pecuniarily solvent thanks to his excellent stewardship of our coffer. My heartfelt thanks once again to all academics from member institutions and their students for the continued success of our Association.

Thurai Rahulan PhD FRAeS
AAU Chairman

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