Fernando Alonso, the former Head of Airbus Flight Test Organisation and, later, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus joins Cranfield University as a Visiting Professor.

With the acquisition of the SAAB 340 to the NFLC (National Flying Laboratory Centre) in 2021, Professor Alonso will provide practical advice and support linking classroom flights to the needs of business. He will help provide advice to support research projects around aircraft electrification and zero carbon research.

Iain Gray, Director of Aerospace, Cranfield University said: “Fernando will be supporting the aerospace and aviation agenda in both a teaching and a research context. He is very keen to support students on aeronautics and air transport and safety masters courses, providing course guest lectures and supporting individual and group research projects.”

During his career, Professor Alonso was SVP Head of the Airbus Flight and Integration Test Centre leading the test teams during the development flight test campaigns of the A380 and A350.

He was Lead Flight Test Engineer in First Flights for the A340-200, A319, A380 and A350, and instructed at the Airbus Flight Test School.

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Alonso said: “I was fortunate to contribute to Airbus developing a family of commercial airliners and to establish the European aeronautical industry as a world leader. The vision of pioneer European engineers and pilots is now a reality. It is now time, and my duty as an individual, to share with the next generation of engineers and aviators all that I have learnt over the years. Most importantly, our industry needs passionate, and creative professionals. Cranfield University provides a unique opportunity for this interaction and I look forward to getting going.”

Since retiring, Professor Alonso has focused on ensuring that his knowledge and experience is passed on to the next generation of aerospace engineers. He has taken on significant advisory roles related to aircraft development, safety and reliability, as well as taking up key advisor positions to organisations like the ITPS (International Test Pilots School) in Canada, which is held in the highest regard across the globe.