Social Philosophy

Aviation and the Environment: aircraft design for reduced environmental impact

Professor John Fielding
21st November 2017, 7:00pm

Recent years have seen increasing concern about anthropomorphic effects on our planet. Some of the more obvious polluters are perceived to be commercial aircraft; aircraft noise has a significant impact, as have nitrous oxides in airport localities. Less immediately obvious are the effects on global warming.

Airline travel continues to increase at a compound rate of some 5% per annum, thus compounding these issues. This process has been alleviated by many means including significant improvements in aircraft and engine design, but much more progress is needed. This requires a combination of improved technology and novel aircraft and/or engine configurations. The lecture will describe several such concepts investigated by Cranfield University which include blended wing/body aircraft such as that shown above.

This concept has been validated by sub-scale flying demonstrators including the Boeing/NASA/Cranfield X-48B and the Cranfield/BAE SYSTEMS Kestrel. Another project features a concept for aerial refuelling of airliners. The receiving aircraft is a conventional airliner of the Boeing 787/Airbus A350 class, but optimised for a range of only 4,000 miles and refuelled to fly either 8,000 or 12,000 miles. Examples will also be shown of ‘silent’, ‘laminar flow’, ‘box-wing’ and ‘strutted’ aircraft powered by various propulsion systems and alternative fuels.


About the Speaker

Professor Fielding had 12 years industrial experience as apprentice and design engineer in Manchester working on the Nimrod, BAE 748 and BAE 146 aircraft. He then joined Cranfield University as the first ARB Research Fellow and had subsequent promotions leading to being Professor of Aircraft Design and Head of the Department of Aerospace Engineering. He was also Chief Engineer of the BAE SYSTEMS/EPSRC – sponsored DEMON technology demonstrator UAV. 

John Fielding is partially retired but is Professor Emeritus at Cranfield University where he teaches and carries out research. He is founder and Director of Fielding Aerospace Consultants Ltd. and specialises in research and education in aircraft design, reliability, maintainability and operational effectiveness. 

He acts as an expert witness and has published more than one hundred technical papers at conferences and in technical journals. The second edition of Professor Fielding's popular text book Introduction to Aircraft Design was published by Cambridge University Press in February 2017. He is Chairman of the Cranfield College of Aeronautics Alumni Association. 


Menu for Supper

Chicken with Diane sauce with new potatoes and vegetables
Goats cheese and red onion quiche (v)
Lemon tart
Fresh fruit salad

N.B. the Lit & Phil office have to inform venues of catering numbers approximately 7 days before an event so please make sure you book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.