Cranfield University is delighted to announce the winners of the Aerospace and Aviation Alumni Awards 2023!

The Cranfield Aerospace and Aviation Awards, in association with the Cranfield College of Aeronautics Alumni Association, recognise the special achievements and contributions of alumni while providing Cranfield with an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate those in the aerospace and aviation sectors who exemplify the values of the University. The awards also allow us to showcase the impact of Cranfield globally and the highlight the accomplishments of individuals who may serve as role models to other alumni, students, and potential students.

Discussing this year's winners, Professor Sir Iain Gray, Director of Aerospace, said: "Over the last few years I have really enjoyed getting to know our alumni community from across the world. I am hugely impressed with their achievements, a community which grows with every year that goes by. The 2023 aerospace alumni award winners are remarkable individuals who have made an incredible impact in their professions within the industry and who continue to champion Cranfield in all that they do. I thank them for all their support and wish them all the best for the future."

Professor Graham Braithwaite FRAeS, Director of Transport Systems, added: "I am thrilled to celebrate the amazing achievements of our 2023 aviation alumni award winners. Each year we are reminded of the incredible things that Cranfield graduates go on to do around the world and this year is no exception. Both Peter and Emilia have made significant contributions to the aviation industry and are excellent ambassadors for what Cranfield is all about."

Congratulations to all our 2023 winners!

The 2023 Distinguished Aerospace Alumni Award winner is Dwayne Lucas (MSc Aircraft Design 1980).

Dwayne has had an illustrious career in both the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and in the Canadian Civil Aerospace industry. It was during the relatively early years in the Canadian Air Force that he was tasked with coming to Cranfield, where he was involved in major Canadian Aircraft procurement programmes.

Having achieved the distinguished position of Brigadier General in the RCAF Dwayne left the Airforce in 2006 and held a senior position as Vice President of Cascade Aerospace Inc in BC, helped support businesses in BC and Alberta through the Regional Consortium. In 2019 he assumed his current role as Vice President - Special Projects for the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada.

The winner of the 2023 Excellence in Achievement Award for Recent Aerospace Graduates is Edward Anastassacos (MSc Astronautics and Space Engineering 2014).

Ed co-founded HeroTech8, a start-up that delivers drone-in-a-box technology for surveillance and industrial inspection without the need for onsite pilots or teams, and leads on the company's strategy and partnership development alongside fundraising activities. In 2022 the drones were used by Milton Keynes Hospital to transport medical supplies across a hospital site, and by Octopus Energy to monitor solar farms.

He was previously a systems engineer at Blue Bear Systems Research and Transport Systems Catapult, and spent a year at Airbus working on guidance, navigation and control. He led a number of UK Government's UAS programmes, managing the UK Drone Pathfinder and the Open UAS Traffic Management initiatives.

Peter Kearney is the winner of the 2023 Distinguished Aviation Alumni Award (MSc Human Factors and Safety Assessment in Aeronautics 2012, PhD Transport Systems 2021).

In his various leadership roles Peter has ensured that the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), where he works as Chief Executive, continues to deliver a safe, high-quality service whilst also growing the IAA's commercial revenue in a sustainable manner. He has represented the IAA and Ireland at a range of European and international fora and negotiated with the European Commission on various aviation related matters.

Peter is a key advocate of the IAA's successful Remote Towers Project which won the Single European Sky Award in 2017. With a keen interest in aviation Peter is also a qualified helicopter pilot.


The 2023 Excellence in Achievement Award for Recent Aviation Graduates is awarded to Emilia Apostu (MSc Air Transport Management 2019).

Emilia worked as an intern within a continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation in her home country of Romania in 2016 and in the highly prestigious role of Strategy and Safety Management graduate trainee for the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Cologne before she studied at Cranfield.

Following graduation, Emilia was selected as Corporate Safety Analyst for Virgin Atlantic and subsequently promoted to Specialist - Safety Data and Management Systems Development. In September 2021, she was appointed as the Aviation & Corporate Safety Risk Manager for Volocopter GmbH. She is now a Regulations and Standards Specialist at TUI Airline Ground Operations.