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 2015

A Recognition of Continuing Professional Development


The deadline for the 2015 competition has been extended to 9th March.  All other conditions remain.

The Western Aerospace Centre annual prize competition encourages the further professional development of young engineers living, working or studying in the West of England and South Wales, following graduation with a first degree.

The format of the competition is intended to test the technical, business and
communication skills required of an engineer when preparing and delivering a presentation to senior management within an organisation or to a conference or symposium.

A 750 word abstract, summarising the author’s work on an aerospace related research or development project, should be submitted to the Western Aerospace Centre by 30th January 2015. The competition is open to self-employed individuals, as well as those employed by or studying with engineering organisations. Qualifying entries on any aviation related topic will be accepted.

The selected finalists will be invited to give a 20 minute presentation at the Presentation Evening scheduled for April 2015 at the University of Bristol,
in front of a panel including engineering directors from the region’s leading Aerospace organisations. More details are provided in the attached flyer.

Subject to confirmation, the four finalists will have a full day with the Red Arrows. The overall winner will receive a £500 first prize, runner up cash prizes will also be awarded.

This is a chance to represent your company or organisation, to gain exposure to senior aerospace representatives from industry and academia, and for employers to encourage professional development amongst their engineers.

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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