Swansea University team flies high in aircraft design competition

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Swansea University, represented by MSc graduate Roberto Morujo, flew in to take the top prize in the Merlin Flight Simulation Group’s IT FLIES USA 2012 Aircraft Design and Handling competition, held at the School of Engineering, University of Dayton, Ohio.

Roberto beat off top competition with his modified SEAM aircraft design, with which the team of eight Masters Aerospace Engineering students from Swansea Engineering had already won joint first place at IT FLIES UK last June. 

SEAM is a very light jet for 4 passengers, with forward control canard design, no horizontal tail stabilizer, and twin rudders mounted at the end of the wings.  For propulsion there are two open-ducted turbo-fans.

Roberto took the $750 first prize, with Dayton students coming second, and Pennsylvania State University third. Another Dayton team secured the presentation prize with their design of a C-5A Galaxy aircraft.

Roberto Morujo

Roberto said:  “It was a great opportunity to participate in the IT FLIES 2012 USA competition where professional pilots from the United States Air Force could check how the aircraft behaves under real flight conditions. After flying and assessing the different models, they gave us feedback as to how we could improve the aircraft. Staying on campus at the University of Dayton gave me time for other activities - I visited the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum, experienced American University lifestyle, visiting their labs and attending class.

"I am very pleased in coming first in IT FLIES USA. It was a difficult challenge for me as I was representing the original design team of eight students.”

The Merlin Flight Simulation Group’s Aircraft Design and Handling Competition “IT FLIES USA” is in its second year. Entries, which come from USA and UK universities, are of high quality. The designs are assessed on a simulator by three very experienced US test pilots, while the Presentation Section was judged by three members of the Society of Experimental Test Engineers.

Professor Johann Sienz, Aerospace Porfolio Director at Swansea University said:   “Swansea have traditionally done very well and are doing particularly well over the past two years in IT FLIES. Swansea University is the only University to hold the title of overall winner for the UK and the US IT FLIES competition at the same time. This is a proud achievement and reflects well on students and on the excellent learning and teaching environment at Swansea for the students on our accredited aerospace engineering degrees.

“This year, we have three entries from the University for the UK version of the competition which is taking place on 12 June at Coventry University: two teams presenting A320neo replacement planes, and one individual, who will enter an airship design, which is a first for the competition.”