Leading the future of aviation

Together, we will...

  • Prepare students to lead in an increasingly complex world. 
  • Create an environment that supports insight and innovation. 
  • Attract new talent to the aviation industry. 
  • Improve work processes and technologies. 
  • Tackle challenges such as aircraft emissions and climate change.

Cranfield University has a long history in the development of future leaders in aerospace and aviation across the globe. It is the combination of teaching and research, close working relationships with industry partners, and the virtually unique National Flying Laboratory Centre (NFLC) Flying Classroom that underpins the outstanding education and student experience that we offer and is key to our vision of the future.

Realising our ambitions

In 2019, we launched the ambitious campaign to replace the ageing Jetstream 31 with a new aircraft. While the Jetstream served us well for over fifteen years it was time to source a bigger aircraft, the Saab 340B, that would enable us to continue to deliver world-class aerospace education and research.

The new Saab 340B will allow us to carry out more research, collaborate with more industry partners and, above all, give more students the opportunity to experience a flight in the flying classroom as part of their learning experience. With improved user interfaces, flights will be more immersive and students will be able to see the flight data displayed on a computer tablet mounted into the headrest of the seat in front - a unique learning opportunity that goes well beyond theoretical studies.

The new Flying Classroom will:

  • provide a larger capacity to accommodate more students on each flight;
  • create new research capability, including potentially in collaboration with other universities;
  • enhance Cranfield’s reputation and that of its students;
  • strengthen the University’s strategic links with industry partners.

Ready to board the new Flying Classroom

Work on the new Flying Classroom has continued throughout the pandemic, with the Saab 340B aircraft currently being upgraded to a fully bespoke facility. Two of our pilots, Rob Harrison and Simon Davies, have successfully completed their training in Sweden and, once the final modifications are completed on the ground in Cranfield, we’ll soon be seeing the new flying classroom take to the skies with its first cohort of students on board.

This wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of our alumni, friends and industry partners. With your support, we’ve now reached 83% of our ambitious fundraising target of £3,000,000.

The Flying Classroom in numbers

150+ individual donors from 22 countries

14 university partners

11 corporate partners

6 in-kind corporate donors

6 trusts and foundations

45 parts sponsored

Thank you for helping tomorrow’s aerospace leaders and engineers benefit from a unique education, foster research partnerships and enhance the reputation of Cranfield, and our students.

Together, we will continue to create the aviation and aerospace leaders of the future.