Top South African-born Airbus aeronautical engineer Frank Ogilvie wraps up a visit to today after meeting universities, industry, the CSIR and government to explore additional opportunities for collaborative research and technology (R&T) projects.
While in SA, Ogilvie also promoted the Airbus “Fly Your Ideas” competition, which is open to all university students and carries a first prize of €30 000.
An Airbus backgrounder on the competition explains that the airline manufacturing giant is seeking “innovative ideas to shape the future of aviation and help to enhance the sector`s eco-efficiency.”
The winner will be the team whose idea demonstrates the greatest potential for improvement. The teams will advance through different competitive and challenging rounds, concluding with a live final at the Le Bourget Airshow in June 2009.
Airbus is currently funding a number of R&T projects in SA.
In June, Airbus and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) signed a partnership deal to jointly research the application of natural fibre-based materials on new-generation eco-friendly aircraft.
A joint press release at the time said the “research will look into the potential application of natural fibres (e.g. hemp, flax and kenaf) in the fabrication of aircraft interior components such as sidewall and ceiling panels, insulation blankets and other less load-bearing parts.
“Airbus, like other aircraft manufacturers, currently relies upon a variety of optimized composites (e.g. glass fiber and carbon fiber-reinforced plastics) for its aircraft interior, which are rather complicated materials for recycling.”
The natural fibres project follows a separate agreement signed in February for the CSIR to conduct computational fluid dynamics (CFD) research for the air transport giant.
The one-year R1.5 million agreement seeks to research and define technologies in “numerical modelling that can bring an important contribution to the design of clean and efficient next-generation jetliners,` a media statement released at the time explained.
“Specifically, the work explores efficient modelling of multiphase flows and new simulation coupling techniques. The project forms part of Airbus` Research & Technology partnership with South Africa, which was launched with the Departments of Science & Technology and Trade & Industry in 2006.”
In August last year, Airbus joined forces with the National Aerospace Centre of Excellence (NACoE), Stellenbosch University and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) to promote aerospace research and technology development.
Under that scheme Airbus and the NACoE committed to co-fund 30 South African post-graduate positions for work focused on aerospace-related topics. The core themes will involve the development and application of automation and smart structures techniques, technologies and processes.
Ogilvie was born in Johannesburg in 1944, graduated from the John Orr Technical High School and emigrated to Britain in 1962. There he started work as a research engineer on civil vertical take-off and landing aircraft with the then-De Havilland company. He is currently Airbus UK` Principle Integrator: Flight Physics. Project he contributed to include the A3XX, A380, A340, A330, A320, A310, the BAe146 and the HS/BAe125 family of business jets, among others.