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 Chairman of the Western Aerospace Centre is Martin Soltau, 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 2014

A Recognition of Continuing Professional Development

The Western Aerospace Centre annual prize competition encourages Continuing Professional Development for Young Engineers who have previously graduated with a first degree.

The final of this year’s prestigious Western Aerospace Centre annual prize competition – encouraging continuing professional development amongst Young Engineers, who have previously graduated with a first degree - took place at the University of Bristol, on Thursday 15th May.  Following four excellent presentations the winner of the 2014 £500 WAC Prize being was Guillaume Francois, University of Bristol on the basis of his work on Novel structural design methods for composite wings.

Four abstracts were short-listed for the second phase of the competition: an oral presentation to the Adjudication Panel, Committee Members and Guests.  In alphabetical order, the finalists were: Solange Baena (below, third from right), Airbus & Cranfield University, “Nature and effects of ice accretion in the performance of centrifugal pumps”, Guillaume Francois (above right and below, second from right), University of Bristol “Novel structural design for composite wings”, James Kratz (below, right), University of Bristol “Development of sustainable vacuum-bag-only manufacturing processes for composite aerospace structures” and Ali Mokrane (below, third from left), Stirling Dynamics, “Novel analysis and design tools for non-linear helicopter ground resonance prediction”.

Martin Soltau (WAC Chairman, above left) welcomed the finalists and guests to the event and thanked the University of Bristol for their hospitality.  All four papers were very well prepared; the presenters proved that they had researched their topics well and were confident in giving their papers to an inquisitive and appreciative audience.  Questions were well handled.  Following the presentations, presenters and guests enjoyed a finger buffet while the adjudication panel, chaired by Prof. Kevin Knowles of Cranfield University (Shrivenham) and including Richard Davey, Director R-PAD Technology Limited, Stephen Harrison, Technical Head of Frazer-Nash Consultancy, and Sandy Mitchell (University of Bristol) retired to assess the overall results.

With four excellent papers of a similar very high standard, the judges had an unenviable task but finally chose Guillaume Francois, on the basis of his presentation on a most interesting and challenging topic.  The three other finalists were each awarded a finalist’s certificate and £100.  The prizes were presented by Mark Chapman, Chief Engineer of the Bloodhound SSC Project (above, second from left and top, left).

Later this year the four finalists will visit the Red Arrows for a full corporate day at RAF Scampton, including the Squadron presentation, the pilots’ briefing and interacting with RAF personnel.  This will be a great opportunity to see the operation of this team of very talented aviators.

Find the flyer for the event here and this report here.

Western Aerospace Centre Prestige Lecture 2013

Where Next for Airbus - Evolution or Revolution?

On the Monday 21st October at the University of Bristol, Neil Scott (UK Engineering Director for Airbus) discussed the future possibilities in the civil airline world.

Neil Scott is currently Vice President Engineering for Airbus in the UK as well as Head of Landing Gear Engineering for Airbus. Neil has previously been the UK Chief engineer on the A320 Programme, UK Chief Engineer on the A330/A340 Programme, Programme Director for the A340-600 Wing, Programme Director for the A380 Landing Gear, and Aircraft Programme Director for the definition phase of the A350 which has recently achieved its first flight.

Airbus has been developing innovative and market winning aircraft on a regular basis. Since the early 1980’s with the first fly-by-wire aircraft the A320, Airbus have produced a new model or a major version change aircraft every 2 to 3 years on average. The commercial aircraft market remains buoyant, but the world is changing and the next all new aircraft has to be a real game-changer to meet the modern demands of the environment, fuel burn, noise, reliability, cost and of course safety and customer comfort. In this lecture Neil looked at previous successes, the challenges going forward and possible solutions for air travel in the years to come.

Flyer include in .pdf form.

We are pleased to include the slides from Neil's lecture and an excellent report on the event here.

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

Current and Future Events

Please click the event heading for further information.
  • Event Type: Committee Meeting
    13 October 2014 16:00 to 18:00
    Queens Building, University of Bristol - Bristol
    Western Aerospace Centre Committee Meeting
    Industry: Aerospace
  • Event Type: Technical Lecture
    13 October 2014 18:00 to 21:00
    University of Bristol - Bristol
    Whilst the title is to be decided, Colin will talk of the future of aircraft propulsion.
    Industry: Aerospace
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