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Chairman's Annual Report - 19th October 2018

The new AAU annual cycle began with the sixth annual student conference in James Watt South Building at Glasgow University. I am most grateful to Dr Kiran Ramesh for hosting this day of Odyssey and making available excellent facilities for the events. As always, since all the presentations were of a very high standard covering a broad spectrum of aerospace subject areas, the three judges Dr David Philpott from ESDU, Dr Simon Prince from Cranfield University and Dr Arash Fallah from Brunel University did not find it easy to select the winners from:

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

There was a question and answer session at the end of each presentation and Osita Ugwueze was judged the overall winner with Rebecca Mackenzie as the runner-up. A new award named the John Farley OBE AFC CEng prize was awarded for the first time to Anton Burtsev for the project which was deemed to contribute most to future air safety. In addition to the prize monies, each student participant received a certificate and cash at a flat rate to assist with the travel expenses. It was yet again a most enjoyable way to start the 2017 – 18 academic session.

I was yet again given the honour of directing the annual International Multiphysics Conference which was held at the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) Thu 14 – Fri 15 December 2017. Furthermore, I was given the privilege of delivering the keynote address which I entitled “Design Evolution of Large Airliners”. It was of particular interest as China is embarking on its first ever twin-aisle airliner project, the CRAIC CR 929 which is likely to make its maiden flight during the second-half of the next decade. As in the past, all papers were of a high standard and it was pleasing to see an increase in the number of young presenters.

The 2018 Universities Seminar was held in the Mason Bibby Room, Harrison Hughes Building, School of Engineering, University of Liverpool at 1300 on Wednesday 28th March. This event, jointly organised by the Association of Aerospace Universities and the Flight Simulation Group of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), was hosted by Senior Lecturer Dr Mark White.

Barry Tomlinson made the opening remarks looking at the current status of the flight simulation industry, career opportunities, international working groups and stressed the impartiality of both the AAU and the RAeS.

RAeS’s Flight Simulation Business Manager John Cook gave an overview of flight training devices with an increasing focus on high fidelity, crew co-operation, situational awareness and improved resilience especially when coping with loss of communications over not only transoceanic flights but also large swathes of Africa. There is increasing emphasis on integration of Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) visual, motion, controls and sound systems.

Neil Sears from Thales UK concentrated on collaborative programmes and future platforms from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and provision of high quality data packs which deliver the best solutions at a competitive price. Connecting together of several training devices using Local and Wide Area Networks (LAN/WAN) to form a multiplatform facility will facilitate cross-service exercises and enhance the art of multi-crew team working. This will it make possible to conduct complete mission rehearsals and deal with potential issues.

Liverpool University’s Flight Simulation Group members led by student Matthew Hudson gave a most impressive presentation. He introduced the speakers who were:

Nourah Al Saud who explained how the activities have benefited the students. He detailed the Piper PA-38 engineering simulator housed inside a triple wall display system providing 210 degree field of view.

Oluseyi Adeniyi talked about the UK50 charity event which involved a trip around the UK and the Isle of Man in 50 flights over a period of 31 hours and 18 minutes in the simulator. A total of 50 students took part in various roles under extremely realistic conditions which included air traffic control communications at the correct frequencies and the writing of the operations manual. The demonstration looked and sounded good enough for licensing by the regulators.

Dr Mark White and Dr Linghai from Liverpool University gave a splendid account of the differences between predictive fidelity (physics based approach using metrics & tolerances) which included aeroelastic effects, interactive aerodynamics & enhanced non-linear coupling dynamics, versus the perceptual fidelity (subjective based approach using pilot opinions) which included items such as task specific motion & visual cueing, appearance, feel, and sensory perception. Subjective fidelity assessments can lead to estimation of simulation fidelity rating.

Alexandros Kontotasios who is a PhD student at Leeds University concentrated on driving and flying fatigue issues. No studies on pilots commuting by car leading to impaired performance have been conducted so far. The deterioration in either the flying and/or driving performance after conducting one or more flights needs to be assessed. The intention is to simultaneously use Leeds University’s driving and the A320 engineering simulator to obtain physiological (eye and heart related) data in addition to acquiring subjective measures.

Dr Chris Toomer who had joined the discussion from the University of the West of England, suggested recovery training from flight upsets where the modelling included computational fluid mechanics and multimode dynamics. David Germany added that a new laboratory at the University of Hertfordshire was being configured and awaiting delivery of two new engineering simulators and the overall efforts will be focussed towards pilot studies.

Introduction of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation came into effect on Friday 25 May 2018 which is effectively an extension of the existing Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) and the Data Protection Act (DPA). Thanks to carefully controlled access to member contact details in the past, our Association had no difficulty in falling in to line compatible with the new laws.

The saddest event in our calendar this academic year was the passing away of our Immediate Past President John Farley OBE (17 April 1933 – 13 June 2018) who died peacefully at home aged 85. On behalf of our Association, I expressed our deepest sympathies to his family members. John was one of the Founding Fathers of the AAU and played a key role in successfully growing it through its infancy. He was appointed the second President of the Association in April 2009 and provided invaluable guidance to members and executives until he stepped down in April 2015. As the Immediate Past President, he continued to be most helpful as and when needed, and I will always be thankful to him from the bottom of my heart for his outstanding leadership. John was undoubtedly the best V/STOL jet display pilot and seemed to defy the laws of physics at times. The skill he displayed when demonstrating the sheer vertical ascent manoeuvre from the ground (the signature ‘rocket climb’) in a Harrier is unique to this day for a fixed wing aircraft. Perhaps the most spectacular “slow flypast” ever displayed was that of a close formation of helicopters led by John flying his Harrier backwards! Despite his world-renowned achievements as one of the finest test pilots ever, he was extremely humble and a great inspiration to the youngsters, especially university students. I represented our Association at a commemoration event organised by Chris Roberts during the afternoon of Wednesday 10th October at Brooklands Museum where John’s lifetime achievements were recalled by his former professional acquaintances John Heron, Dick Poole, Colin Wilson, and Dave Southwood who gave a fairly detailed account of John’s association with the AAU. A minute’s silence was held at the beginning of the Annual General Meeting today in remembrance of John. The photograph below shows John (left) being congratulated by me on the occasion of him being inaugurated as our new President in the Sopwith Room at the Headquarters of the Royal Aeronautical Society on the First of April 2009.

I kept the Engineering Professors’ Council (EPC) fully updated on all our activities at their Board meetings. Responsibility for EPC’s Aerospace Sectoral Group which was created by Professor Jonathan Cooper many years ago, was handed over to our Association at the onset. Jonathan is currently RAeS’s President-Elect and will take the helm in May 2019. I was elected to RAeS’s Council for a fourth consecutive term which will finish in May 2021. I was not able to attend the Futures Day event (Friday 20th July) at this year’s Farnborough Air Show (where many of our member institutions were represented) due to a clash with a forum (entitled “From Drag Polar to Speed Curve”) I had to conduct on Wednesday 18th July at the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Amongst the most noteworthy aerospace news in recent weeks are the commencement of static wing deflection tests on the Boeing 777X article, historic landing of the first Lockheed Martin F-35B on HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier and resumption of (at nearly 19 hours non-stop) the longest scheduled flight (SIN – EWR) by Singapore Airlines using A350-900 ULR equipment. Furthermore, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Royal Aircraft Establishment facility at Farnborough and the formation of the Royal Air Force on the First of April.

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

Aekim Garcia (Hertfordshire) - Spacecraft Emergency Escape Systems

Samuel Wood (West of England) - Analysis of Jet Ejector Performance using Response Surface Optimisation Methodology

James Wakefield (Bristol) - Coupled Flight Mechanics based on a Reduced Order Model of Unsteady Vortex Lattice Code for Tiltrotor Analysis

Robert Elliott (Cardiff) - Mode Jumping in Stiffened Panels

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 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 Communications Director Dr Hassan Khawaja for their enormous help in maintaining our web site amongst other activities, and Secretary Dr Simon Prince for keeping us updated on aerospace strategic developments at national level. Thanks are also due to Ewen Constant 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 twelve years. 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

Immediate Past President John Farley OBE (left) being congratulated by the AAU Chairman Dr Thurai Rahulan in the Sopwith Room at the Headquarters of the Royal Aeronautical Society in April 2009

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