A project managed by Cranfield University to advance electric aviation has achieved a significant milestone, with what is thought to be the first ever flight by a British designed and built, all-electric conventional aeroplane.

The eKub is a British designed and built all-electric microlight aeroplane and has been developed by a consortium of Cranfield University, TLAC, Flylight Airsports and CDO².



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The UK-ARC community welcomes the excellent achievements of the ATI FlyZero project. Mobilising a large industry and academic team to rapidly examine many aspects of zero-carbon aviation and how to achieve that within a decade was a huge undertaking.

UK-ARC universities undertook or contributed to sixteen reports that form part of the body of research evidence in the FlyZero feasibility study. The energy, enthusiasm and impetus generated through FlyZero is galvanising the community to define the right path to deliver zero-carbon aviation and it is bringing different stakeholders and disciplines together. Importantly, it is also supporting with the UK government’s Jet Zero Council initiative. This project and the ‘grand challenge’ represented by FlyZero has changed the way the research community works and the results and roadmaps going forward really make a difference. It has shown that academia not only has broad capability essential to realising zero-carbon aviation but also that it can deliver results quickly. Further details of the FlyZero project and access to the open reports can be found here. Great job, ATI!

The ATI received confirmation on 29th March that they have been allocated Government funding totalling £685m over the next three years which allows resumption of their programme. This is excellent news for the academic community as well as for industry. UK-ARC universities are frequent collaborators in industry projects proposed to the ATI so this announcement is good for drawing though lower TRL research for the benefit of the sector.

The latest budget, which covers the period 2022 to 2025, equates to a 50% uplift on the previous three years. Industry Minister Lee Rowley, said that the funding rise is a “sign of our increasing ambition” particularly in relation to zero-emission aviation, and would give “large companies and SME’s the confidence to invest in technologies that will bring civil aviation into the next generation.

The funding programme opened to new applicants with an expression of interest stage on Monday the 4th April and will close on Wednesday 27th April            

Full stage opening will be 30th May and close 6th July

Funding eligibility will remain the same as when the ATI programme paused. The Programme works to support collaborative R&D with multiple partners in universities, Catapults, and industry, including Primes and SMEs.

If you have previously submitted prior to the programme suspension, you will need to submit a new EOI via Innovate UK’s IFS portal. Expression of Interest form

A new report published by Cranfield University and Inmarsat highlights the critical role that digital connectivity will play in accelerating aviation’s long-term recovery.

The report highlights a number of transformative changes ahead for the aviation industry and examines how airlines can take advantage of the enormous opportunities created as a result.

To read further access the report HERE


The Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Southampton invite applications from candidates with research and teaching interests/experience in Mechanics of Structures and Materials including design, fabrication and characterization of novel materials and innovative structures relevant to aerospace and energy applications.


For more information

Swansea University is seeking to appoint a Lecturer or Senior Lecturer to join the Department of Aerospace Engineering to help develop expertise and capabilities in the important area of hydrogen-based propulsion technology for aviation.   Applicants should have demonstrable experience in either academia or industry, of working/researching/teaching in the area of hydrogen fuel system technology for aircraft propulsion.   This could be based on direct hydrogen combustion or hydrogen fuel cell technology.  The successful candidate should be able to demonstrate how their expertise complements or supplements existing research at Swansea in the areas of hydrogen combustion modelling, ‘green hydrogen’ generation and materials research for cryogenic liquid hydrogen storage systems.  For further queries please contact the Head of Aerospace Engineering at Swansea University, Dr Ben Evans b.j.evans@swansea.ac.uk


Senior Lecturer/Lecturer in Aerospace Engineering (swansea.ac.uk)

  • Research into drone noise could inform future regulation
  • Trials found noise levels to be similar to an office or restaurant
  • Further trials planned to gather more data from different drone types and flight paths

Measurement trials with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at Cranfield University are paving the way for a better understanding of the noise impact of drones.

UAV noise is a concern often raised for flights over urban areas, encompassing not only noise volume but also frequency of sound from flights.

Read more here

A key partner of Strathclyde has launched a state-of-the-art purpose-built global centre for the design and digital manufacturing of next generation aerostructures.

The 90,000-square-foot innovation centre on the Spirit campus in Prestwick is capable of manufacturing components of up to 20 metres in length and features 55,000 square feet of manufacturing space and a materials lab.



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Successful ground testing for all-electric race plane

Researchers at the University of Nottingham have tested an electrified racing aeroplane that could establish the viability of faster and more efficient electric flight.

The research project, which began in 2018, aims to demonstrate the concept of electric-powered plane racing; pushing the limits of electric propulsion to increase energy efficiency and cut emissions in the aviation industry.

The project has been funded by the Propulsion Futures Beacon of Excellence, directed by Professor David Grant in collaboration with Air Race E, a pioneering electric air race series, to investigate alternatives to the use of fossil fuels in global transportation systems.

The Cassutt III petrol-powered single-seater racing aircraft provided by Air Race E has been converted to run on electrical power. The airframe has been adapted to fit the integrated electric motor and other supporting power electronic systems such as cooling systems, pilot interface and controls. Additional supporting structures have also been developed to house the batteries, which provide the motor with enough energy for the race mission.

Project lead Professor Michael Galea, an expert in electric machines and drives, said: “Electric flight is one of the fastest developing technological areas and is seen as the third-generation of aviation. The rigours of air motorsport, with its demand for speed, performance and power management, has provided us with the perfect conditions to develop and promote cleaner, faster and more technologically advanced electric motor drives.

“Our drive has been fully lab tested to its rated speed and power, and a custom-control system has been developed to start the motor and control the speed from within the cockpit. A significant amount of time has been spent on getting the motor operating and communicating with the motor management system, a process which involved understanding, programming, connecting, and tuning all control systems.

“Our main design challenge has been to retrofit the electrical systems into the plane in place of the existing aircraft engine. The batteries take up a large volume in the nose of the plane and there is limited space to fit the battery housing, control circuitry and main power cables within. This must be achieved whilst maintaining a similar weight distribution and centre of gravity to the original plane.

“The challenge of fitting everything together inside the existing engine bay and achieving a similar weight distribution was overcome using 3D CAD models of the airframe and electrical systems to assess the best fit and stress analysis of the supporting airframe structure to check it would support the motor.”

Jeff Zaltman, CEO of Air Race E, said: “It is fantastic to see the truly amazing work being carried out by the team at the University of Nottingham as our collaboration continues to advance aviation technology.

“We are all incredibly excited about this project and to see the successful ground tests completed was a big milestone in our push to develop alternative transportation systems. I would like to congratulate everybody involved, and I can’t wait to see what else we can achieve together.”

The electric plane has been tested in-situ at an East Midlands aerospace engineering partner facility and it will be used as a static demonstrator at aerospace events, with the potential to be flight tested in the future.

The Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre was attended by the President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Chief Executives of the HVMC and NCC.

A great attendance from aerospace companies including Spirit and supply chain companies such as Denroy Plastics and Nacelles Systems Consultancy among others helped celebrate the relaunch

of Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre (NIACE)