Cranfield University launches flying classroom


Cranfield University in the UK has officially launched its latest flying classroom, a modified Saab 340B aircraft which will help up to 1,700 students gain invaluable flight test experience every year.

The aircraft, which is part of the National Flying Laboratory Centre’s was officially ‘opened’ by the Princess Royal during a visit to the University.

Karen Holford, Cranfield University’s chief executive and vice-chancellor said, “I was extremely proud to show The Princess Royal how the University continues to be right at the forefront of developing the future of flight.

“Not only are we developing the best engineers and future aviation leaders, the research that goes on at Cranfield is helping to push forward technological developments, aviation engineering and sustainability in the sector.”

As well as teaching students while on-board, the flying classroom has satellite communications systems donated by Inmarsat and Honeywell capable of transmitting live flight data, video and audio into classrooms.

The flying classroom is operated by Cranfield University on behalf of over 20 universities across the UK who teach aerospace engineering. It flies almost all the UK’s aerospace undergraduates as well as Cranfield postgraduate students, around 1,700 a year, enabling them to gain flight test experience.

The flying classroom is also used for industry research, supporting the development of airborne technologies and procedures for future flight operations.

According to Cranfield it is the only university in Europe to have its own airport, pilots, air navigation service provider, and its own aircraft.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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