Student's 'Titanic of the sky' wins award in US competition

Ollie Banks' winning design for an amphibious aircraft. Neil Gibson, April 2019

A University of South Wales (USW) student’s ground-breaking design for an amphibious passenger aircraft has won a competition in the USA.

Third year BEng Aeronautical Engineering student Ollie Banks won at the annual 'IT FLIES USA’ competition, held at the University of Dayton in Ohio, with his final-year dissertation designs.

“The aircraft was designed, because having grown up by the sea and having had an interest in aviation at a young age, I felt there was potential for more flying boats/seaplanes to be active in the UK,” Ollie said.

“Another reason I chose the design was, having seen how overcrowded airports are and all the requirements aircraft must fit to take off and land at them, it seemed obvious to me there are miles of unused coastlines and waterways in the UK they can use instead.

“Plus, this will then promote internal tourism into the UK especially to areas which rely on seasonal trade such as the South West.”

Ollie Banks won at the annual 'IT FLIES USA’ competition. Neil Gibson. April 2019

Ollie Banks won at the annual 'IT FLIES USA’ competition

He added that the aircraft is meant to symbolise affordable luxury and have the feel of the 1930s, with its classic look and specification.

“It can fly to New York from Southampton without refuelling. It’s a long-distance airliner which has the possibility to be an environmentally friendly aircraft following some tweaks to the engine and fuel of choice.

“It also means tourists can get to seaside resorts quicker rather than having to drive from inland airports to coastal destinations.

“The name Britannic was chosen after the Olympic-class liners (which included Titanic), to show this would be a luxurious mode of transport but to also show that British engineering still can be considered a challenger in the world of engineering.”

Ilias Lappas, Course Leader BEng (Hons) Aeronautical Engineering and student project supervisor, added: “The evolution of an aircraft design idea involves countless hours of conceptual design, calculations, laboratory testing and simulations, until it is ultimately being flight tested and certified.

“Throughout this process many promising designs fail to translate into practical solutions due to poor flying and handling qualities, and this is the real value of the experienced test pilots of the ‘IT FLIES USA (and UK)’ international aircraft design competition, as they provide the students with a link to the real world, in addition to the invaluable feedback on how their designs can be further optimised.”


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