Merlin Flight Simulation Group’s IT FLIES student aircraft design and handling competition was held live for the first time since the pandemic at the new simulation suite at Swansea University in Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom. Teams from Swansea, Manchester, The University of South Wales, and Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences competed for the top prize.

Flying judges were retired test pilots Gordon McClymont and Dave Southwood, whilst the project presentation judge was Dr. David Philpott. Each entry had to give a 10-minute project presentation to the judges and audience before the test pilot flew and assessed their aircraft design in one of Swansea’s MP521 simulators.

The winners this year were a team from Swansea University led by Abdul Rashid, with their design of a hybrid-electric turboprop. Second were The University of Manchester, Josemaria Handoyo and Karim Hassan with their design of a 6th generation fighter jet.

The prize for the best project presentation was won by Linda Luijten from Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

The winners received a cheque for £500 from Merlin Flight Simulation Group, and affiliate student membership of The Royal Aeronautical Society.  All runners up were given copies of The Aviation Historian magazine – perfect to keep in their simulation labs for reference as to why old designs worked or not.