Merlin Flight Simulation Group logo and photograph


Student Testimonials

The Flight Simulation Society is one of the first of its kind in the UK and has been increasingly successful since it first started in 2011. Combining the new upgrades with additional projects in collaboration with our industrial partners, The Flight Simulation Society will be at the forefront in offering one of the most prestigious facilities for members in the new academic year. The new simulators will provide a dynamic improvement in realism and experience, vastly enhancing the learning opportunity to students and visitors alike.

Abdullah A Desai, Flight Simulation Society President, 4th Year Aerospace Engineering Student, School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, The University of Manchester

After watching and participating in the ItFlies USA competition, the ItFlies UK competition showed a difference in education and the viewpoints about the aerospace field with the students and the former RAF test pilots as judges. I had heard a lot from upperclassmen about the competition, and I was glad to have a chance to be a part of it myself, even if it was just as a representative. I learned a lot throughout the day between the student's different designs being presented and the RAF test pilot's comments and stories. It was interesting to see how the comments of the USAF test pilots and the RAF test pilots focused on some different, smaller aspects. Another difference between the two competitions is the plane designs as most of the USA competitors were more based on previous planes and self-designed planes, primarily created in the Aero Design class, compared to more varied plane designs due to class missions with a different focus. I had a great time learning more about University life and just talking about the differences in culture between the UK and the US and connecting with students from Swansea University. It felt amazing meeting new people walking similar paths and having similar ambitions. I had a great time at the ItFlies UK competition, and I would like this tradition and connection going strong for the years to come as it was a fantastic experience for me and will be for any future students.

TJ Vogler

Having been involved with the ItFlies! Team since my first year at UD, I was very excited to head to Swansea for the competition. The hospitality of the British team was apparent from the beginning. Marion was excellent in organizing everything including our travel to Wales, parking once at the University, and our stay with the students. Everything regarding the travel was seamless and could not have been easier. The students were very generous with their time and their outgoing nature made the trip very memorable. Though we were there for a simulator competition, I was able to learn a lot from them through our conversations. It was a great experience having time to sit down between presentations and discuss our different views on aviation having come from two different cultural and national backgrounds. It was great to see the passion for aviation on the other side of the Atlantic.

The competition was simply fantastic. The first thing that really impressed me was the facilities used for the competition. The University of Swansea is a beautiful campus located in a beautiful area. The room used for presentations was perfect because the slides were easily read while the speaker could just as easily be heard. As the presentations began, I was blown away by the professionalism of each speaker and the depth to which they took each individual project. It inspired me to take each design project I work on to that next level. I was particularly impressed by the helicopter team. The fact that they sought out and utilized a test pilot to make changes was fantastic. I also had the chance to talk with one of the professors during lunch. It was a great time to understand how they utilized the sim compared to the UD students. I was able to take away a few tips and tricks about how to help students learn from the simulator. I think the time spent between presentations and during lunch was as much of a learning experience as the presentations themselves.

Overall, I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to travel abroad for such an exciting competition. Had it not been for Marion, Chris, and the students, I wouldn't have enjoyed myself as much and I definitely wouldn't have been able to take away as much as I did. Without a doubt, I would highly suggest to any student who has the opportunity to experience this competition to take advantage of this amazing experience.

Neil Capeci

"My favorite part of the entire project though was testing it in the flight sim. Most students would never have the opportunity to see their design come to life, let alone see it fly. It was a great feeling to pull back on the stick and the plane I designed lift off into the air. And then for it to stay in the air was also quite impressive! Running the different tests on the plane was also very fun and very enlightening. Seeing how the control surfaces responded to the inputs was very exciting. Having the process come full circle makes me want to go back and improve the design further. I have seen how different components will affect flight and want to make my design even better."

Daniel Herrmann

Photograph - Megan Braisted and Dave Southwood

Megan talking to Dave Southwood, Test Pilot.

Participating in the IT FLIES! Competition, be it in the United States or the United Kingdom, is an experience that honestly cannot compare to anything I've done in the entirety of my academic career. The University of Dayton has hosted the USA Competition for the past two years - of which, I've been a part of one - and hosting is just as exciting as travelling. The competition itself technically only takes place over the span of one day, but the days leading up to the competition and after it are equally as exciting. Spending time with peers who are just as in love with aerospace from all over the globe may sound a bit silly, but creates a special bond. Taking guests to the National Museum of the US Air Force, a place I've visited since I was young, is somewhere I know that will be enjoyed. And, of course, travelling to participate in the UK Competition is an adventure in and of itself! Both competitions are much more than academic. Having experimental test pilots fly your aircraft and share their experiences with you is an opportunity that isn't given to many individuals, and I consider myself lucky to be involved with such a great program.

Megan Braisted
The University of Dayton

Photograph - Josh Nieman

Josh Nieman

The greatest part about this whole experience is how the simulator is designed. I can simply input this plane that until this point was simply just numbers from equations. From there I was able to have an aircraft that is solely my design, function. One reason that I have moved from the aerospace application is that so much of that is done is not tangible. If you somehow get a design job in aerospace (after 20 years in the job force and a handful of luck) the likelihood that your design will be tangible is slim. Since it takes so much research and investigation in aerospace most designs do not make it. I know that the months of work I have put into this plane will never leave the computer screen. Yet, a program like this in which I can actually test my design makes a huge difference. There is no way that this plane could be built, the university can't afford to prototype it, can't afford to test it, and the likelihood that this will happen is slim. Yet, to be able to test the plane in the simulator, see and feel how it performs is a great thing. I love the fact that I was able to put my plane in and it pitched down. I knew it would pitch down, I expected it to since I knew that would be a problem when designing it. But the fact that I was able to see that, the problem I was unsure to fix, I could simply see the results while in flight made this experience so much greater. I was then able to augment my plane on the spot, reinitialize and run it. That is truly awesome.

Josh Nieman
The University of Dayton

Flight Simulator - photograph

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