Students from the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences dominated at the Merlin Flight Simulation Group’s annual IT FLIES aircraft design and handling competition.

Held at the UK's University of Manchester on 8th June 2017, the competition saw entries from both individuals and teams at universities across Britain, the Netherlands and the US. It was judged by Dave Southwood and Gordon McClymont from Empire Test Pilots’ School, based in Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, UK.

Concepts ranged from a supersonic aircraft to a crop-sprayer, with each team making a ten-minute presentation on their aircraft design to the judges before demonstrating the aircraft ‘flying’ in one of Merlin's simulators, operated by two test pilots.

Amsterdam University’s Sam Le Poole won first prize – £1,000 from Merlin Products Ltd., the Harrier Trophy and a student membership at the UK’s Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) – with his concept for an unmanned blended wing body cargo freighter aircraft named ‘ATLAS’.

Mike Hartman, another Amsterdam University student, scooped two accolades for ‘E-SPARC’, the design for an electrically sustainably propelled aerobatic racing aircraft. He won both second prize as well as the prize for the Most Innovative Design, which saw him take home £500 in total (£200 and £300 respectively). Both prizes were sponsored by the Flight Simulation Group of the RAeS.

Third prize – copies of The Aviation Historian periodical – were won by Ugne Kiudulaite and Ruta Marcinkeviciute, students from the University of Manchester, for their light, closed-wing, single-engine aircraft design.

Finally, the prize for Best Project Presentation (copies of John Farley's book, ‘A View from the Hover’) were won by Hunter Johnston and Jacob Korczyk from the University of Dayton in Ohio, US.