Contact Dr Guy Gratton

Areas of expertise

  • Air Transport Safety & Investigation
  • Aircraft Design
  • Airworthiness
  • Aviation Management & Operations
  • Electric and Hybrid Vehicles
  • Environmental Impacts
  • Flight Physics


Guy Gratton's early career was in military flight testing, but he moved in 1997 to be Chief Technical Officer at the British Microlight Aircraft Association.  Whilst at BMAA, he did his PhD part time with the University of Southampton, in the development of airworthiness evaluation techniques, and was approved as a test pilot for microlight aeroplanes.

In 2005 he moved to Brunel University London where he was subject lead for creation of their BEng and MEng programmes into Aviation Engineering, as well as supporting the new Aerospace Engineering MSc and building a body of aviation safety research.

In 2008 he moved to Cranfield, working for the Natural Environment Research Council, as head of the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (now FAAM Airborne Laboratory) for seven years, then another four years as Head of Airborne Science and Technology to the National Centre for Atmospheric Science.

Guy Gratton is also a commercial, test and instructor pilot holding commercial licences for the UK, Europe and the USA - he has logged 1900hrs in 109 aircraft types.  He's written four books: The Microlight Flyers Handbook (Camber), Initial Airworthiness (Springer, 2 editions) and Achieving Success with the Engineering Dissertation (Springer, with Petra Gratton)  Guy is also an experienced Expert Witness, practicing mainly in civil litigation related to aircraft accidents, and has regularly appeared on TV and radio in relation to aviation and air safety matters.

Research opportunities

Working in the overlap between aeronautics and environmental sciences, particularly interesting in collaborations in:-

  • Impact of climate change on aviation operations.
  • Weather and environment related aviation safety.
  • Low emissions flight.
  • Use of aircraft as research platforms.
  • How to deliver air transport in a world where infectious diseases such as Covid exist.
  • Related ethical research and considerations.
Also very happy to discuss anything related to the content of any of my books, or my earlier work on flight safety.

Current activities

  • Programme manager for EnabEl: Enabling Aircraft Electrification, a collaboration between Cranfield University, The Light Aircraft Company Ltd, Flylight Airsports Ltd and CDO2.
  • Editorial boards for Aeronautical Journal (Royal Aeronautical Society) and Cockpit (Society of Experimental Test Pilots).
  • PI for COSBAT (Covid-19 Secure and Biosafe Air Transport) consortium of Cranfield, Manchester and Brunel Universities - currently seeking funding.


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers

  • Shukri S, Millar R, Gratton G & Garner M (2016) The potential risk of communication media in conveying critical information in the aircraft maintenance organisation: A case study. In: 6th Innovation in Aerospace Engineering and Technology, AEROTECH 2016, Kuala Lumpur, 8-9 November 2016.
  • Bromfield M, Gratton G & Young M. (2015) The effects of stick force gradient on pilot mental demand. In: AIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference, Kissimmee, Florida, 5-9 January 2015.
  • Gratton G (2015) Flight testing the Titanic: re-visiting the loss of His Majesty's Airship R101. In: 58th Annual Symposium of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP 2014), Anaheim, California, 24-27 September 2014.
  • Gratton & GB (2014) Flight Testing the Titanic: re-visiting the loss of His Majesty’s Airship R.101. In: 46th SETP EC & 25th SFTE EC Annual symposium, Lulea, 15-18 June 2014.
  • Bromfield M, Gratton G & Watson T. (2013) Flight Testing in a University Environment: challenges and lessons learned. In: 24th SFTE EC Symposium, Braunschweig, 11-13 June 2013.
  • Gratton G, Gascoyne M & Nott G (2013) Maximising scientific return by combining manned and unmanned airborne atmospheric measurements. In: 1st Conference of the International Association for Atmospheric Research using Remotely-piloted Aircraft (ISARRA), Mallorca, 18-20 February 2013.
  • Gratton GB. Mares C (2012) Design Considerations for Unmanned Aerial Systems. In: Unmanned Aerial Systems, London, 24-25 October 2012.
  • Gratton G (2010) Planning and execution of atmospheric research flight operations in the UK following the 2010 Icelandic volcano eruption. In: 41st Annual International Symposium of the Society of Flight Test Engineers 2010, Washington DC, 13-16 September 2010.
  • Bromfield M & Gratton G. (2010) Loss of control testing of light aircraft and a cost effective approach to flight test. In: 41st Annual International Symposium of the Society of Flight Test Engineers 2010, Washington DC, 13-16 September 2010.
  • Bromfield M. & Gratton G. (2009) Flight test: Supporting the investigation of factors affecting loss of control of light aircraft. In: 40th Annual International Symposium of the Society of Flight Test Engineers 2009, Linkoping and Stockholm, 7-11 September 2009.
  • Bromfield MA & Gratton GB (2009) Factors affecting loss of control in general aviation aircraft. In: 39th Symposium of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, San Diego, California, 19-20 March 2009.
  • Saeed B & Gratton GB (2008) Numerical Evaluation of the Aerodynamic Characteristics of Annular Wingform for V/STOL Applications. In: CEAS Aerodynamics Group Conference on The Aerodynamics of Novel Configurations: Capabilities and Future Requirements, London, 27-28 October 2008.
  • Gratton GB & Bromfield MA (2008) Aspects of general aviation flight safety research. In: Royal Aeronautical Society 2008 General Aviation Conference, Cambridge, 28 September 2008.
  • Gratton GB (2008) Test Pilot Skills in the Courtroom. In: 40th European Symposium of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, Luzern, 4-7 June 2008.
  • Gratton GB & Porteous TC (2007) Protecting the flight test programme. In: European Flight Test Safety Workshop, London, 17 October 2007.