Western Aerospace Centre

The Centre is part of the Aerospace Division of the IMechE, and represents western region industry and academia with interest in the aerospace industry.

The Chair of the Western Aerospace Centre is Natalie Hibberd CEng MIMechE MSc, who can be reached by emailing wac@imeche.org.

The Honorary Secretary, Pauli Markkanen MEng CEng MIMechE can be reached about anything in connection with the Western Aerospace Centre and its events by emailing wacsec@imeche.org

Please get in touch if you would like represent your organisation in industry or academia on the committee, if you would like further details on any of the events on these pages, or if you would be interested in helping arrange these or other events across the Western Region.

Western Aerospace Centre Prize Competition 2017

Engineering Communication Excellence

The purpose of the prize is to encourage the further professional development of young engineers living and working in the West of England and South Wales, following their graduation. The format of the competition is intended to test the technical, business and communication skills required of an engineer.

The selected finalists will be invited to give a 20 minute presentation at the Presentation Evening at the University of Bristol, in front of a panel including engineering directors from the region’s leading Aerospace organisations.

Please note that the presentation evening is confirmed as Monday 24th April at Bristol University.

For further information and to book, please click here

Photo Courtesy Duncan Chase

Entry is now closed (as of 31st Jan).

To enter, submit a 750 word abstract summarising your research or development project on any aviation related topic to the Western Aerospace Centre by 30th January 2017.

The overall winner will receive a £500 first prize, and the three runners-up will each receive £100. Subject to confirmation, the four finalists will have a day visiting the Red Arrows.

A flyer is attached here with more details on the rules.

Western Aerospace Centre Prestige Lecture - 17th October 2016

Additive Manufacture: Revolutionising Aviation Manufacture and Design

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is changing the face of aircraft design and GKN Aerospace is at the forefront of transforming the technology from theory to flying parts.

On behalf of the IMechE Western Aerospace Centre Natalie Hibberd (Chair of the IMechE WAC) was pleased to introduce Dr Robert Sharman to give the 2016 Prestige Lecture on the topic of Additive Manufacturing, with particular respect to Aviation application. Dr Sharman was able to share his passion for the technology with the 150+ people who joined the WAC Committee in the Pugsley Lecture Theatre at the University of Bristol on the 17th October 2016. Dr Sharman introduced GKN Aerospace to the audience,. GKN Aerospace has a range of centres of technology all across the globe for the main additives manufacturing techniques, including centres that specialise in small-scale deposition processes using a laser powder bed to produce smaller near-net higher detailed shapes.


Dr Sharman gave a comprehensive overview of the types of additive manufacture currently used by GKN and their advantages; Dr Sharman was able to add humour through easy to understand analogies with “The Great British Bake off”. The main benefits of Additive Manufacture techniques were discussed, these included reduction in lead times through rapid prototyping and design process flexibility, efficient manufacturing (it requires much less machining than traditional forgings or castings as it only adds material where needed) and future possibilities of new materials through future material design for additive manufacture. Dr Sharman was keen to make it clear to the audience that while he firmly believes that Additive Manufacture is the future; it is already here, and it is already being used today.


On completion of a very interactive Q&A session, the WAC committee offered their thanks to Dr Sharman for an engaging lecture and thanked the University of Bristol, before inviting guests to a finger buffet with sponsor stands.


Why not find out what the Aerospace Division is up to?

Current and Future Events

Looking for an event nearby? If there are no events indicated contact your local representative to exchange your ideas for forthcoming activity.

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