Cranfield University’s £1 million fundraising campaign for a replacement aircraft to join the National Flying Laboratory Centre (NFLC) has received a boost this week from the Cranfield College of Aeronautics Alumni Association (CCAAA), with a donation of £10,000.

The University’s campaign aims to raise funds to replace its Jetstream 31 ‘flying classroom’ with a Saab 340B aircraft. The aircraft is part of the NFLC, which operates from Cranfield’s global research airport.

Professor John Fielding who is the President of the Cranfield College of Aeronautics Alumni Association, said: “I was an MSc student in the 1960s who flew in The College of Aeronautics’ Dove, Paris and Beagle Pup aircraft. These flights were the highlight of my time as a student. Flying loops, rolls, phugoids and Dutch Rolls in real aircraft reinforced lecture material in a unique fashion. I later flew in the Jet streams as a PhD student, Lecturer and Professor.

"Most of our aerospace alumni have benefited greatly from their flying experiences and have contributed to this donation to help enable many more to do so in the future, in the new, very capable, SAAB 340 aircraft.”

The Alumni Association represents former students who have attended aerospace and aviation related courses at Cranfield since its foundation in 1946 and the current students studying those subjects today.

Many will have experienced flying with the NFLC aircraft and also learned more about the principles of flight and aircraft stability and control through using the facilities.

No other university in the UK has the ‘flying classroom’ capability, with students from 25 universities using the Jet stream as a vital part of their aerospace learning. Flights take students through various lift, drag and pressure tests and the specially-instrumented aircraft can supply real-time data, allowing students to become flight test engineers for the day.

The NFLC was recently awarded The Queen’s Anniversary Prize, the highest award in the UK for higher educational institutions, for its work supporting the nation’s aero-engineering students.

Prof John Fielding on the airfield with cheque
Professor John Fielding on the Cranfield airfield with NFLC's Slingsby aircraft

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.