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Swansea University win AOPA flying prize

The team from Swansea University who won the AOPA prize for the best new aircraft design at IT FLIES 2010 completed their flying lessons, and Bethan Kenward wrote this summary with picture for the AOPA magazine.

'At the beginning of our final year, doing our Masters Degree at Swansea University, we were given the task to design a new commercial aircraft which could be entered into the Merlin IT FlIES Aircraft Design and Handling Competition. At that point I don't think any of us thought that we would come second in the competition and win the prize for best new design. There are 10 of us in a group and so we had a real opportunity to design the plane down to some quite fine details to insure that what we put in the Simulator was true from our knowledge. It also gave us the chance to put what we had learnt in the three years previous to use and see how things work in the real world.

Entering the Competition was a real experience for us. It took us a long time to work on our design but seeing it flown on the Simulator at Coventry by a professional test pilot was a real thrill. To know that something we had designed could fly and could with stand the tests that were carried out on it makes you very proud but really the fact that our aircraft was judged to be the second best in the competition and also the best new design is a wonderful feeling.

Winning the best new design gave us the opportunity to have a flying lesson courtesy of the AOPA and so on the 20th September this year we headed out to White Waltham to undertake these lessons. Only six members of the group got to fly and so we were split into two groups of three and headed off. The experience lasted three hours and each of us got a turn at the controls because we landed and two other airports on the trip.

When we landed in White Waltham at the end of the trip you could see how much fun everyone had had.

I think it is fair to say that entering the Competition gave us some wonderful opportunities and so on behalf of the entire group I would like to thank Chris and Marion Neal from Merlin for running the competition, George Done and AOPA for the Prize, our Instructors Tom Griffin and Neil Jackson and Professors Sienz, Adhikari and Gethin, and Clive Francis and Jane Wallace from Swansea University for helping us with our design and Simulation Model.'

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