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Podcast Ep. #21 – Prof. Paul Withey on Single-Crystal Superalloys for Jet Engine Turbines

Paul Withey is the Professor of Casting at the School of Metallurgy and Materials of the University of Birmingham, UK. Before joining the University of Birmingham in 2018, Paul worked at Rolls Royce for 21 years developing new superalloys and manufacturing processes for gas turbine components. As an Engineering Associate Fellow, Paul was a member of a select group of the top 100 specialist engineers across all engineering disciplines within Rolls Royce, and in 2015, Paul and his team were...


Podcast Ep. #20 – Airbus Engineer Oliver Family on the E-Fan X Demonstrator

Oliver Family is the Overall Aircraft Design Leader of the Airbus E-Fan X demonstrator. The E-Fan X is a hybrid-electric technology demonstrator being developed by Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens based on a British Aerospace 146 regional airliner. The driver behind the E-Fan X demonstrator is that current aircraft designs have converged to a near-optimum, and with existing technologies, it is difficult to meet the stringent sustainability goals in terms of CO2/NOX emissions and reductions...


Podcast Ep. #19 – Manuel Schleiffelder on the Hound Project and Metal Matrix Composites for Rockets

Today I am speaking to Manuel Schleiffelder, an aerospace engineer based in Vienna, Austria. Manuel has a background in designing and building experimental rockets with the student space team of the Technical University in Vienna, known as the Hound Project. I spoke to Manuel after he returned from a trip to the Black Rock Desert, where the Vienna space team tested their newest two-stage experimental rocket. Manuel has a very broad background in space engineering having worked on projects...


Podcast Ep. #18 – Prof. Wenbin Yu on the Structure Genome

On this episode I am speaking to Wenbin Yu, who is a professor at the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics of Purdue University and CTO of AnalySwift, a provider of simulation software for composites. Wenbin has achieved many accolades in both the academic world and in the private sector, and is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. His specialty lies in multi-scale modelling of materials and structures, a topic that we delve into throughout this episode. Material...


Podcast Ep. #17 – Alba Orbital Engineer Andrew Dunn on PocketQubes

On this episode of the Aerospace Engineering Podcast I am speaking to Andrew Dunn who is an engineer at the satellite company Alba Orbital in Glasgow, Scotland. Alba Orbital is in the business of building PocketQubes, which are miniaturised satellites mainly used for space science, Earth imaging and space exploration. As the name suggests, PocketQubes are pocket-sized, usually around 5 cm (2 in) cubed and weighing no more than 180 grams. What is more, PocketQubes are typically assembled...


Podcast Ep. #16 – Max Haot and Launcher’s Ten-year Journey to Deliver Small Satellites to Orbit

On this episode I am speaking to Max Haot, who is the founder of Launcher, a rocket startup based out of Brooklyn, NY. Launcher was founded in early 2017 and is on a ten-year journey to deliver small satellites to orbit. More specifically, Launcher plans to deliver payloads of up to 300 kg into low-earth orbit cheaper than anyone else in the growing small launcher market; a market specialising on small satellites that will deliver GPS, internet services and earth imaging in the near...


Podcast Ep. #15 – Nick Sills on Contra-Rotating Electric Propulsion

On this episode I am speaking to Nick Sills who is the founder of Contra Electric Propulsion Ltd. Nick’s engineering background is in developing underwater propulsion systems for the offshore oil and gas industry. He has designed products ranging from a hydraulically powered excavator for pipeline route trenching, to the world’s biggest deep water excavator. He received a Queen's Award for Technological Achievement for the "Jet Prop" tool, a 5 m diameter propeller that is powered by...


Podcast Ep. #14 – Dufour Aerospace Co-Founder Thomas Pfammatter on the aEro2 VTOL Electric Aircraft

On this episode I am speaking to Thomas Pfammatter, who is the co-founder of the Swiss electric aircraft startup Dufour Aerospace. Dufour is currently designing an electric aircraft with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities for the urban and rural transport market. The promise of their current aircraft, the aEro 2, is that with VTOL capabilities it can take-off and land pretty much anywhere, which can considerably reduce travel times, especially to places that are difficult to...


Podcast Ep. #13 – Skyrora’s Lead Engineer Robin Hague on Scotland’s New Satellite Launch Capability

Robin Hague is the Lead Engineer at the rocket startup Skyrora based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The goal of Skyrora is to provide a dedicated launch vehicle for small satellites. It has never been cheaper to build small satellites that provide imaging and communication services, and this sector of the space economy is expected to grow rapidly over the coming years. The UK is a world leader in the small satellite business—with Glasgow in Scotland building more satellites than any other city in...


Podcast Ep. #12 – The Perlan Project: Soaring to the Edge of Space

This episode features an in-depth look at the Perlan Project. The mission of the Perlan Project is to fly an engineless aircraft to the edge of space, in this case, by taking advantage of an aerodynamic phenomenon known as wave lift. Not only is soaring to 90,000 feet an audacious goal, but on top of that, the Perlan Project is a worldwide collaborative project run entirely by aviation enthusiasts, scientists, engineers and adventurous pilots. No one has ever soared to the edge of space in...


Podcast Ep. #11 – Dr Priyanka Dhopade on Jet Engine Optimisation and Women in Engineering

Priyanka Dhopade received her PhD from the University of New South Wales in Canberra, Australia and was the recipient of the Zonta Amelia Earhart Fellowship award, awarded annually to the 35 most outstanding female aerospace PhD students worldwide. Since 2013 she has been researching the thermodynamics of jet engines in the Thermofluids Institute at Oxford University. Priyanka is an expert in computational fluid dynamics modelling of heat transfer, aerodynamics and aero-elasticity in jet...


Podcast Ep. #10 – Kitty Hawk Roboticist Dr Mark Cutler on UAVs, Machine Learning and Personalised Flying

Dr Mark Cutler has a PhD in Robotics and Autonomous Systems from MIT. He has researched multiple aspects of UAV technology—from designing and building his own novel quadrotor for aerobatic flight to developing machine learning algorithms for autonomous systems. Mark is currently working for the California-based startup Kitty Hawk backed by Google founder Larry Page. At Kitty Hawk, Mark is applying his expertise in rotorcraft to create the next generation of vehicles for everyday flight....


Podcast Ep. #9 – Faradair Founder Neil Cloughley on the Bio-Electric Hybrid Aircraft and Regional Aviation

Neil Cloughley is the founder and managing director of Faradair, the UK's leading hybrid aviation programme. Neil has a broad background in the aviation industry ranging from aircraft re-marketing and aircraft leasing to starting his own aircraft consultancy business, which found him working with the world's major airlines, OEMs and trailblazing companies like Virgin Galactic. Neil's father developed one of the most advanced unmanned aerial vehicles of the early 1990s, and had a flying...


Podcast Ep. #8 – Rocket Lab’s Lachlan Matchett on Democratising Access to Space and the Rutherford Rocket Engine

In this episode I am talking to Lachlan Matchett, who is the VP of Propulsion at Rocket Lab. Rocket Lab is a startup rocket company with the mission of removing barriers to commercial space by frequent launches to low-earth orbit. The current conundrum of many space technology companies that want to launch small satellites into space is that there is no dedicated launch service tailored to their needs. This is where Rocket Lab enters the picture. To provide small payloads with a flexible...


Podcast Ep. #7 – Dr Valeska Ting on Smart Nanomaterials for Hydrogen Storage

Today's episode features Dr Valeska Ting who is a Reader in Smart Nanomaterials at the University of Bristol and is researching the use of nanoporous materials for hydrogen storage. Using hydrogen as a fuel source has many benefits. Due to its excellent energy density, hydrogen has long been hailed as an alternative to fossil fuels but it's also an excellent means of storing renewable energy from solar or wind sources. One of the challenges of storing hydrogen is its low density, meaning...


Podcast Ep. #6 – Oxford Space Systems Founder Mike Lawton on Deployable Space Structures

On this episode of the podcast I speak to Mike Lawton, who is the founder and CEO of Oxford Space Systems (OSS). OSS is an award-winning space technology company that is developing a new generation of deployable space structures that are lighter, simpler and cheaper than current products on the market. These deployable structures deploy antennas and solar panels on satellites orbiting earth, and are tricky to design because they need to package to a fraction of their deployed size, and...


Podcast Ep. #5 – Concorde Chief Engineer John Britton on Supersonic Flight

In this episode I am talking to John Britton. John was the chief engineer of Concorde on the British side of the enterprise from 1994 until Concorde’s demise in 2003. John possesses a wealth of knowledge regarding the engineering behind Concorde, and its heritage in Bristol, UK. Because he was the chief engineer at its demise, he also has a unique insight into why the aircraft is no longer flying today. In this conversation, John and I talk about: how he ended up as the Chief Engineer of...


Podcast Ep. #4 – Kim-Tobias Kohn on Electric Aviation

"We need to get going into the future in terms of clean aviation" --- Kim-Tobias Kohn On this episode of the podcast I speak to Kim-Tobias Kohn who is a lecturer in Aerospace Engineering at the University of the West of England. Beside his main vocation, Kim is also an avid pilot and runs an electric skateboard startup company. Kim has garnered attention in the media and from aerospace societies in the UK for his unique university project of building an electric glider with his...


Podcast Ep. #3 – Airbus Senior Expert Ian Lane on the A350, Innovation in Aerospace, and Diversity in Engineering

"You could say: What could we possibly do next? You look back at history and say: All the shelves must be full now! We must have the capabilities to do everything we need. And yet, we still go on...It's your generation that is going to Mars. So please, can you get on with it and do it, because I want to enjoy it from the augmented reality that other engineers are going to produce." --- Ian Lane This episode features Ian Lane, Senior Expert in Composite Analysis for Airbus UK. Ian has more...


Podcast Ep. #2 – Prof. Paul Weaver on Shape, Stiffness and Smart Aerospace Structures

"There's been a lot of good press from the science community on self-assembly of atoms. Well, I guess what I'm looking for is self-assembly and disassembly of large-scale structures...There is all sorts of exciting things we can do when [engineering] structures re-configure themselves." --- Prof. Paul Weaver This episode features Prof. Paul Weaver, who holds a Bernal Chair in Composite Structures at the University of Limerick in Ireland, and is the Professor in Lightweight Structures at...