Cranfield University has at the heart of its mission a strong aviation, aerospace and environmental research capability. We offer unique facilities through Cranfield's global research airport and the Cranfield Living Lab campus

As the only university in Europe with its own airport, aircraft and air navigation service provider, Cranfield offers a unique spectrum of relevant capabilities, expertise and facilities for the development of aircraft electrification and the aviation ecosystem.

Download our current Aerospace capabilities brochure

Digital aviation

Cranfield University is at the forefront of aerospace technology, working to address the challenges of digital aviation and rethink the airports, airlines, airspace management and aircraft of the future. Located at the heart of the Cambridge - Milton Keynes - Oxford arc, we work closely with business, industry and governments across the world. 

The Aerospace Integration Research Centre (AIRC) fosters collaboration between industry and academia and provides capabilities comparable with the leading aerospace facilities across Europe and the world.

The Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) is due to open at Cranfield University in 2021 and will spearhead the UK’s research into digital aviation technology.

‘Future Cabin VR’: a virtual reality experience of the aircraft cabin of the future

One of the areas at DARTeC is the Passenger Experience Laboratory. We have been working with Einsight on a conceptual design of the future aircraft cabin; including innovations in passenger comfort and wellbeing, bio-safety, inflight entertainment (IFE), as well as enhanced connectivity and personalisation. 

Explore the aircraft in 360 VR as part of Farnborough Friday at 13:10 on 24 July - view us on the full agenda on the Farnborough Connect website.

Find out more about the academic lead behind this project, Dr Tom Budd

PhD research presentations

Academic technical insight videos

Presentations on aerospace technological advances from our academics

Towards Trustworthy and Green AI in Aerospace - Professor Weisi Guo, Professor of Human Machine Intelligence, Centre for Autonomous and Cyberphysical Systems:

Next Generation MRODr Ip-Shing Fan, Senior Lecturer in Enterprise Systems, IVHM Centre:

Careers in digital aviation

This panel discussion will inspire, advise and give confidence to anyone interested in a career in the aviation industry and, in particular, digital aviation. There are so many different roles within aviation and now is a particularly exciting time to explore how your interest could contribute towards the developments taking place across the industry.

We have brought together industry professionals from two of our DARTeC partner companies, Boeing and Blue Bear Systems Research Ltd, to talk with our Career Development Manager and the Head of our Transport Systems theme. They will give an insight into life within different digital aviation job roles and to talk openly about career paths, education and development opportunities.

Watch the panel on Farnborough on Friday at 13:20. Register via the Farnborough Connect website.

Aviation and the environment

Within our Environment theme we have a dedicated Atmospheric Measurement Sciences Group and a Centre for Environment and Agricultural Informatics where research on areas such as air quality and climate change take place. We work closely with researchers at the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) who are also based at Cranfield. 

Watch our Aviation and the Environment video

Please see below for more information on the related areas:

National Flying Laboratory Centre

The National Flying Laboratory Centre (NFLC) operates Cranfield’s aircraft, including the flying engineering laboratory, a facility virtually unique in the European academic sector and used to support teaching, research and consultancy.

More than 1,200 aeronautical students from over 25 universities around the world fly in our Jetstream 31 each year as part of their degree course. This fully-instrumented aircraft supplies passengers with real-time data about a range of performance parameters, allowing students to become flight test engineers during their flight.

We have three further aircraft which are used for hands-on flying experience for our postgraduate students and to help inspire future generations of aeronautical engineers. Download our National Flying Laboratory Centre brochure for more information.

Watch this short overview video about the NFLC recorded at the end of last year.

See what happened when Richard Westcott, Science and Technology Correspondent at BBC, experienced the flying classroom.