Group of students standing in front a flight simulator with two older men

Swansea’s winning IZULU team with judges Gordon McClymont (left) and Dave Southwood.

A team of high-flying Swansea students soared to victory in a unique challenge designed to celebrate the talents of future aerospace engineers.

This year’s It Flies competition was hosted for the third time by Swansea University and it was one of the two home teams who took part which eventually lifted the trophy after a gruelling day in front of industry experts.

The competition, held annually in the UK and USA, sees university students having to come up with a design for a whole aircraft. Their designs are then put to the test by a professional test pilot, using one of the University’s MP521 simulators, which have been supplied by competition organisers Merlin Flight Simulation Group. 

The Swansea team called IZULU did battle with fellow students from the Faculty of Science and Engineering as well as teams from the University of South Wales, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and Manchester University.

The winners – Abdulqadir Rashid, Anish Pradhan, Thomas Edwards, Akash George, Ashin Anil and Ed Keeley - were presented with a prize of £500 by Chris Neal, owner of Merlin Flight Simulation Group.

Marion Neal, from Merlin, said: “It was a pleasure to be back at Swansea University this year, especially as its brand new simulation suite means it was the perfect place to hold IT FLIES UK!

“Although ultimately only one team could win, every student who took part now goes away having expanded their knowledge of flight.  As these are our future aircraft designers it’s very important that they learn from the test pilots – these are the students that are now going into our aerospace industry.”

Ben Evans, professor of aerospace engineering, said: “Here at Swansea University we are very proud of our long-standing relationship with Merlin and the suite of flight simulation tools that it has provided have become an integral part of our aerospace degree programmes. 

“We were delighted to host this year’s flight simulator competition and welcome teams here to use our simulators at this exciting event and even more thrilled that it saw Swansea claim our third win.  We are very proud of the team’s ingenuity and skill.

“But win or lose, I hope that this will further inspire the students taking part and be a catalyst in their journey towards becoming professional aerospace engineers.” 

Find out more about studying aerospace engineering at Swansea University


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