Support for Cranfield’s new ‘flying classroom’ from aviation foundation


The International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading Foundation has awarded a grant to Cranfield University towards the replacement of its ageing Jetstream 31 with a Saab 340b aircraft.

The University has been fundraising for a replacement aircraft for its National Flying Laboratory Centre (NFLC), which operates from Cranfield’s global research airport. The facility provides aerospace engineering students from universities from all over the world and Cranfield with invaluable flight test experience as a flying classroom.

Earlier this year, Cranfield was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its work supporting the aero-engineering students around the world. The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are the UK’s most prestigious form of national recognition open to a UK academic or vocational institution.

Further funding is needed in order to complete the modifications of the aircraft to support the next generation of global aero-engineers. Being larger than the Jetstream 31, the Saab 340B will allow the NFLC to accommodate more students on each flight and create new research capabilities, including potentially in collaboration with other international universities. The flying laboratory also undertakes research projects testing the development of aerospace technologies and flight operations.

Professor Helen Atkinson, pro-vice-chancellor (School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing) at Cranfield University, said, “We are extremely grateful for the support of the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading Foundation and indeed all the others who have given so generously to the fundraising campaign so far. From alumni to current students and from industry partners to other universities we hear just what a global asset the National Flying Laboratory Centre is.

“While we have made great strides with generous donations we still have a little way to go to equip our new Saab 340b with the technology that will inspire and educate the next generation of aero-engineers as our long-serving Jetstream 31 has done.”

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Paige is an experienced journalist and editor who started her career covering the building and architecture sector. After several years writing and editing online and print articles for leading journals in this sector, she is bringing her thorough approach to technical content to covering the business aviation industry. In her spare time she enjoys traveling and is always planning her next trip.

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