Selected aerospace MSc courses* are provided with the opportunity to experience a flight in our National Flying Laboratory Centre’s (NFLC) light aircraft. This flight experience will complement your MSc studies and inspire your aeronautical career. During the flight you will have the opportunity to take control of the aircraft.

Each experience is 2 to 3 hours in duration and includes a pre-flight safety briefing outlining the details of the manoeuvres to be flown, a flight of approximately 1 hour, and a post-flight debrief to discuss aspects of the flight with the instructor and to provide the opportunity to ask further questions. 

NFLC pilots are either ex-industry or ex-military pilots and highly knowledgeable of MSc course content. You will fly in either Cranfield’s Scottish Aviation Bulldog or Slingsby T67 Firefly aircraft.


Elements of the flights are tailored to the specific requirements of the course you are attending at Cranfield. These tailored elements will be discussed in depth at the pre-flight briefing.

Not only will the content provide you with a practical experience of flight, it will build upon the theories of aerodynamics, the effects of controls and the effect of gravity on the human body. It will introduce you to the concepts of spatial disorientation, human factors in complex systems and how aircraft, airfields and airspace is organised to enhance the safe operation of aircraft.

Following the flight, you will have gained a practical understanding of the theory of powered flight, an appreciation of the controls of an aircraft, and how airfields and the airspace are organised to ensure the safe operation of aircraft. You will have the opportunity to ask the pilot any questions you have during the post flight briefing.

Your flight will be recorded using an NFLC camera. The video files will be sent to you following your flight so you can relive this unique course experience.

* Please check with the relevant Course Director on the availability of flight experiences.


Cranfield Airport is base for a number of flight schools if you wish to continue flying during your time at Cranfield.

All flights adhere to Cranfield University’s COVID-19 guidelines and risk reduction policy. Videos were recorded before the pandemic.

Cranfield University has been awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for the sixth time - this time for the work of our National Flying Laboratory Centre. Students on the Aerospace Vehicle Design MSc and Aerospace Dynamics MSc also have the opportunity to participate in a as part of their course. Professor Graham Braithwaite, Director of Transport Systems, explains more about the work of the NFLC, the experience it provides for students.