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.

WAC Prestige Lecture 2015 - Project Zero

Western Aerospace Centre Prestige Lecture 2015

Project ZERO: Inspiring the Future

As VP Research and Development for Agusta-Westland, Dr James Wang conceived Project Zero, the world’s first all-electric tiltrotor technology demonstrator aircraft. With one goal of the project to inspire the next generation, a team of young engineers designed, built and tested the concept aircraft in just 6 months. It features a number of innovative technologies, and has been selected for several prestigious international awards, including the 2014 RAeS Team Gold Award.

In this lecture Dr Wang will share his passion for vertical flight, describing the Project Zero development programme, and where these technologies may lead in the future.


Dr Wang Bio

Monday 26th October 2015, 18:30 for 19:00 Lecture.  Finger buffet to follow lecture.

Chemistry Lecture Theatre
University of Bristol
Cantocks Close
Bristol BS8 1TS

FREE and open to all. No prebooking required, although it will be help to judge numbers if you can register your interest on the events page. For more details contact Pauli Markkanen:

E:  wacsec@imeche.org

T: 07879 808 707

Western Aerospace Centre Prize 2015

A Recognition of Continuing Professional Development

The Western Aerospace Centre is running its annual prize competition to encourage the further professional development of young engineers living and working in the West of England and South Wales. The competition finalists will be presenting their contributions to leading edge research and development projects to a panel that will include senior engineers from the region’s leading Aerospace organisations. The presentation topics are:

  • Laura Edwards, University of Bristol: Structural Magnetic Composites for use in electro-mechanical applications;
  • Rafael Luterbacher, University of Bristol: Towards Self-Healing Materials for Aircraft Applications;
  • Ryan Marks, Cardiff University: Using Genetic Algorithms to optimise an active sensor network on a stiffened aerospace panel with 3D scanning laser vibrometry data.

Attendance at the competition evening will offer an excellent opportunity to support professional development, network with senior Aerospace representatives and to learn more about research and development in the South West Aerospace community.

Monday 20th April 2015, 18:00 for 18:30 start

Queens Building, University of Bristol, University Walk, Bristol BS8 1TS

The event is FREE and open to all. No pre-booking required. Finger buffet and drinks after the event.  Please find enclosed a flyer for onward publicity. For more details contact Pauli Markkanen: wacsec@imeche.org

Western Aerospace Centre Prestige Lecture 2014

Aerospace Propulsion Technology: Present and Future Challenges

On the Monday 13th October at the University of Bristol, Prof Ric Parker (Director, REsearch and Technology, Rolls-Royce plc) stepped in at the last minute for Colin Smith CBE FRS (Director, Engineering and Technology) to discuss the future of aerospace propulsion.

The CTi Fan System on the Advanced Low Pressure System Engine Demonstrator (copyright Rolls-Royce plc 2014)

Ric described the journey of modern aerospace propulsion technologies and the challenges for the future from the engineering and technology that have delivered the most efficient large aero engine in the world today – the Trent XWB – to the next generation of engine designs already in development and the research and technology challenges faced in delivering the future concepts for civil aviation.

A flyer is included in .pdf format.

Prof Ric Parker and the Western Aerospace Centre Committee following the successful Prestige Lecture 2014.


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.

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.

Please click the event heading for further information.
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