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Chairman's Annual Report - 20th October 2017

At the previous Annual General meeting (AGM) held on Friday 21st October 2016, members present unanimously agreed to appoint one of the Founder Members of our Association Dr David Philpott as the Vice President in recognition of his continuing support. David holds the position of Reader Emeritus at the University of Hertfordshire and is currently the Head of Transonic Aerodynamics and Internal Flow at Engineering Sciences Data Unit (ESDU) and was until recently, the Chairman of Royal Aeronautical Society’s (RAeS) Hatfield Branch. His research interests include the development of rapid aerodynamic prediction methods for use in wing design optimisation, the influence of manufacturing tolerances and repair schemes on fuel burn for commercial aircraft and the use of fractal methods in flow monitoring.

The members present at that meeting also unanimously agreed to re-designate Associate Professor Dr Hassan Khawaja from the UiT-The Arctic University of Norway as our Association’s Communications Director in recognition of his valuable services in improving our web site in partnership with Professor Moji Moatamedi also from the same institution. More details on his ongoing research is mentioned later in this report.

The new season commenced with the fifth annual student conference in the splendid Engineering Central at Swansea University Bay campus which was opened recently. I am very grateful to Dr Mike Clee 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, Professor Moji Moatamedi and Dr David Philpott did not find it easy to select a winner from:

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.

There was a question and answer session at the end of each presentation and Kiril Boychev was judged the overall winner with Charles Barclay-Hudson as the runner-up. However, all the contestants were awarded certificates and rewarded with cash prizes. It was yet again a most enjoyable way to start the 2016 – 17 academic session.

I was given the honour yet again of directing the eleventh annual Multiphysics Conference which was held 8 – 9 Dec 2016 at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences. It was the eleventh in the series and as always our Association took great pride in being one of the sponsors. The paper by A. S. Fallah from Imperial College entitled “Computational simulation of rain-induced damage in wind turbine blades” raised a large number of questions and led to an unusually lively discussion at the end of the presentation. This year’s conference will be held at the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) in China Thu 14 – Fri 15 December.

This year’s “Flight Simulation and Universities Seminar” was again hosted by Neil Sears at Thales, Crawley on Wednesday 19th April with the Flight Simulation Group (FSG) of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) represented by Barry Tomlinson who introduced the Chairman of the FSG Chris Hunter. Chris explained the concept of mixed reality where a live view from a camera is effectively painted onto a time synchronised synthesised image. This technique is quite challenging especially when trying to compensate for latency in the system. A good example is a helmet mounted display where the view inside the cockpit and the view outside the aircraft in the form of virtual reality are combined into one scenery depending on what the pilot is looking at. The use of cross-cockpit collimated displays to provide adequate visual volume and eliminate parallax were also discussed.

Neil Sears then briefly touched on XPI simulation based driver training systems after a brief history of Thales and focussed on future needs where the customers are demanding reduced costs using latest technologies based on cloud computing. Does the future business lie in increased use of commercial-off-the-shelf items than bespoke units? And could electric muscle stimulation devices be used to simulate the feel of touching or holding levers and handles? Can these thoughts lead to the development of a simulation environment that does not need customised cockpit control hardware?

First year Aero undergraduates James Varney, Daniel Newton-Young and Gilbert Tyrer from Liverpool University gave a talk on the Piper PA-38, Jetstream 41, Heli-Flight and fast jet simulation facilities in their Department. Their level of professionalism was most impressive bearing in mind that they were Freshers only six months earlier. Pritesh Narayan gave the last talk on his experiences using their flight simulation facility for teaching purposes and is looking to make greater use of Simulink in the future. Captain Bengt Jansson and First Officer Balbir Chopra from City University took the opportunity to network and establish new contacts for future collaboration.

I would like to very much thank Neil for an absolutely splendid day at Thales and Barry Tomlinson for organising the Universities Seminar. Additional thanks are in order to Jonathan Denny, Ian Henderson and William Arinz for the conducted tour of the facilities at Thales, Simon Skinner and Dr David J Hall from XPI for demonstrating a driver training simulator for a military vehicle, and, Steve Mainardis, Paul Enright and Dumitri Jobson from L3 for giving the visitors an opportunity to land an A320 at Heathrow. The three undergraduates from Liverpool University managed to touch down and bring the aircraft to a halt on the runway with varying degree of success but my attempt resulted in a mangled wreck near the touchdown point, the least said about it the better.

Thursday 15th June heralded the two-day summer event more than 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle with Dr Hassan Khawaja introducing the Department of Engineering and Safety at the UiT-The Arctic University of Norway. The highlights of the presentation were the study programmes offered at degree levels and the focus towards education and research aimed at the Arctic environment. The Departments boasts about 80 full time academics and 400 taught students reading for six Bachelors’ and two Masters’ degree programmes in addition to Supplementary Courses. The fleet at the University of Tromsø School of Aviation at Bardufoss airfield consists of six single-piston and three twin-piston aircraft. An automation-aviation linked collaborative degree programme on Drone Technology has been developed.

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.

Professor Vegard Nergård introduced the Aviation/Pilot studies in the same Department. The key items centred around human factors in aviation which are essential for the flight crew to build particularly high levels of airmanship in order to be able to cope with the excessively inclement weather that can be encountered in the Arctic environment. The Bachelor’s degree programme in Arctic Aviation recruits about 8 students every year and hence there are 24 students reading for the degree at any one time. The academic team led by Vegard has just been successful in securing funding from the Norwegian Government to start a new degree programme at Master’s level. Aided by Bengt Magne Svendsen, Vegard then subjected the delegates to terrifying flight conditions in inclement weather in the fixed-base Boeing 737 flight simulator. I broke out in a cold sweat during the demonstration of a manual landing at Evenes Airport in a blizzard in gusting wind conditions despite there being no motion except for very large and sudden stick and rudder inputs. Even during the late finals, the intense squalls made the runway lights disappear every few seconds!

The following day commenced with Hassan introducing the Infrared, Spectroscopy and Numerical Modelling research group. The presentation explained the purpose of the research group and its recent activities. Starting with the modelling of thermal diffusion using data from infrared thermography, numerical simulations of heat transfer were illustrated. Other studies related to simulation of flow inside fluidised bed chemical reactor and visualisation of streamlines in a ventilated cold room. A video of a shock-tube experiment enthralled the audience and the presentation was wrapped up with a list of projects that are being carried out in collaboration with industry.

Miss Hui (Helene) Xue’s presentation on Augmented Reality looked at wearable devices that are currently on offer along with the applications. The optical combining of digitally generated images and real world video capture to generate a mixed-reality environment in the Microsoft HoloLens was discussed along with tracking systems using different methodologies. Selection of items from a virtual menu could be effected using air taps and these devices are being developed for extended applications. It is hoped that such systems will lead to more cost-effective training solutions in the future.

Tanveer Ahmad presented his findings on using Infrared Imaging to identify the wind chill-effect and insulation of winter clothing. He showed qualitatively that IR can detect the effects of wind chill and conducted experiments to obtain data with a view to establishing metrics which can be used to assess the effectiveness of survival gear. An unusual item that cropped up during the presentation was the relative required clothing insulation (IREQ) thermal index which is used to assess the effectiveness of jackets from various manufacturers.

The delegates were given a demonstration of experiencing all six degrees-of-freedom motion on the world-class ship simulator with waves being whipped by 40 knot winds. The ship’s bridge is mounted on a pneumatically driven full motion platform with 360 degree vision. I had to make my excuses and exit the simulator after the first exercise as I am not a good sailor. It took me about 20 minutes on firm ground for the sea-sickness symptoms to disappear. The rolling frequency seemed to be about 0.8 Hz but the angular amplitude which was only about four degrees felt more like 12 degrees.

My heartfelt thanks to Hassan, Vegard, Helene, Tanveer and others for their help and support for making this two-day workshop so successful. I am also most thankful to their Department of Engineering and Safety for the use of the Board Room with its breathtaking view of the snow-capped mountains across the water over which flew a number of aircraft including two C-130s in formation at low level and ambulance helicopters. The Department also provided catering on both days. All in all, it was a breathtakingly educational and enjoyable experience for the delegates and the partners.

In addition to UiT in Norway, we have had two new members from abroad {Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and Al Ghurair University based in Dubai} joining our Association bringing a more international flavour. The Association will do all it can to assist them with development of teaching curriculum and research.

Professor Guy Gratton and Dr Simon Prince organised a seminar at Cranfield University on Monday 18th September on the co-ordination of all aerospace departments to encompass the academic capability, the creation of a national infrastructure for airborne research & test facility, establishment of a user-base for expanding community engagement and the use of various aircraft as university research assets. After a tour of the Facility of Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) BAe 146 and National Flying Laboratory Centre (NFLC) Jetstream 31 aircraft, Guy gave a talk outlining the proposals. This was followed by presentations by Professors Nick Lawson and Iain Gray who gave their views on the need to include airborne test & research into degree curriculums. Unfortunately due to more urgent commitments, I was not able to attend this event and I am most thankful to Guy and Simon for their enthusiasm in organising this event.

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

Karine Murray (Kingston) - Design and Develop a Flow Control Unit for an Electric Propulsion Thruster

Jake Snaith (Coventry) - Flight Simulation: Effect of Post-Flight De-Briefing on Student Pilot Performance

Osita Ugwueze (Coventry) - Flight Simulation Model of the Lanchester 1897 Manned Aerial Machine (X-Plane)

Daniel Murphy (Hertfordshire) - Comparison of a Conceptual Rotating Detonation Engine (RDE) and SABRE Engine for a Small/Medium Payload Launch Vehicle

Jordan Hamilton (Sheffield Hallam) - Algorithm Development for CTOA measurements from crack tip analysis using Matlab with digital image correlation validation

Anton Burtsev (Liverpool) - Helicopter Encounters with Wind Turbine Wake

Robert Rushforth (Liverpool) - Helicopter Operations in Degraded Visual Environments Drift reduction through tactile cueing

Rebecca Mackenzie (Glasgow) - Fault Tolerant Systems for Autonomous Planetary Rovers

SeifAllah ElTayeb (Glasgow) - Derivation of Morphing Shapes for Aircraft Structures

Bettina Islam (Salford) - Water Ingress in Composites Materials: A Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis

Akira Ikenaga (South Wales) - Conceptual Design of a Tip Device for the BAe Jetstream 31 Aircraft

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, Immediate Past President John Farley OBE AFC and Vice President Dr David Philpott 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 now-established 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 his contributions.

In recognition of John Farley’s contribution since the Founding of our Association culminating in his outstanding leadership over the six year term as our President, a new prize in his honour in addition to the existing ones, will be awarded starting this year to the student whose project is deemed to contribute most to Future Air Safety. Thanks are also due to David Germany for the careful audit of our financial accounts earlier.

I feel greatly honoured and privileged to have served as your Chairman for the past eleven years. This year marks the tenth anniversaries of the signing of the agreement with the RAeS and indeed the A380 entering passenger service on 25th October 2007. My heartfelt thanks once again to all my colleagues from the member institutions and their students for our continued success.

Thurai Rahulan PhD FRAeS
AAU Chairman

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2017 AAU Competition Winner

Osita Ugwueze from Coventry University was judged the overall winner of the 2017 Association of Aerospace Universities (AAU) student competition which was held on 20th October 2017 in James Watt South Building at Glasgow University. His talk was entitled “Flight Simulation Model of the Lanchester 1897 Manned Aerial Machine (X-Plane)”. The photograph shows Osita Ugwueze being congratulated by the Vice President of the AAU Dr David Philpott from Engineering Sciences Data Unit (ESDU) who was also the Chief Judge for the competition.

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