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The RAeS Solent Branch holds lectures every month that anyone can attend at no charge. Both members and non-members are welcome. For more details on how to find where the lectures below are held, please see the lecture locations page.


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Thursday 5th March 2020

Turner Sims Southampton 
Highfield Campus
University of Southampton
SO17 1BJ

Lecture Locations page

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18:00 - Drinks reception 19:00 - Lecture starts



The BLADE project – which stands for “Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft Demonstrator in Europe” – is tasked with assessing the feasibility of introducing laminar flow technology for commercial aviation. It aims to improve aviation’s ecological footprint, bringing with it a 50% reduction of wing friction and up to five percent lower CO2 emissions.

Historically, research into natural laminar flow has been based on a combination of wind tunnel tests and limited flight tests.  Due to scaling effects, contaminants that may significantly impact aerodynamic performance on a full size aircraft are too small to model in a wind tunnel.  Due to the expense of making significant aircraft modifications, full scale tests are usually limited to tail surfaces or ‘gloves’ adhered to existing wing surfaces, which are constrained by the underlying geometry.  BLADE, part of the Smart Fixed Wing Aircraft project of the Clean Sky consortium, takes a huge leap forward by replacing the entire outer wing of an Airbus A340-300 airliner with an optimised aerofoil and internal structure.

Simon and Tom will discuss the challenges of modifying a full sized airliner to develop this technology,  how the test programme has improved our understanding of laminar flow and what this means for the future of aircraft design.

Image Copyright Airbus.


Future Lectures:


Zephyr: Pioneering the Stratosphere

Link to Poster

Tuesday 17th March

Building 46 (Physics) Room 2003 

University of Southampton

Highfield Campus

Southampton, SO17 1BJ


Locate using


18:00 - Doors open

18:30 - Lecture sarts

Paul Stevens: High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) System Design Authority, Airbus

Zephyr is an ultra-light solar electric aircraft, optimised for operation in the lower Stratosphere. With beyond line of sight command and control, Zephyr can operate from the stratosphere anywhere over the globe. It offers year round persistence in the mid-latitude range and seasonal coverage at high latitude. Its endurance is measured in months and offers a complementary capability to LEO satellites, but with geostationary behaviour. This exciting talk will describe the technology, the capability and present what is next for this innovative and disruptive technology.

Image Copyright Airbus.



Transforming Test & Evaluation Training

For those who missed this we are pleased to announce that the speakers have kindly offered to repeat this lecture.


Thursday 14th May


18:30 (Doors at 18:00)

Location TBC





Simon Tate - Director Operations Air & Space

Paul ‘Shakey’ Shakespeare - Head of Flight Operations & Chief Test Pilot

In a world of increasing budgetary pressures, customers require the most efficient and cost effective Test & Evaluation training on modern, relevant air systems.  In order to address the challenges of customer financial and time pressures, after 75 years of training Test Pilots and Flight Test Engineers, ETPS underwent a major transformation to ensure it stayed at the forefront of Test and Evaluation training.  Simon Tate and Paul Shakespeare will explain the background to the programme, the strategy followed and detail how the new aircraft were selected, the main capabilities they now offer and how they have been integrated into new EASA compliant courses.  They will explain how the new courses were designed and produced and the innovations and new technologies that have been introduced before concluding with the main challenges, risks, issues and lessons learnt so far.

Image Copyright QinetiQ.

More lectures will be added to the programme throughout the season.  Please check back regularly or like our Facebook page for updates.