Michael Matheson MSP and Dr Tim Mackley from Cranfield University in the University's Aerospace Integration Research Centre. Image: Cranfield University

University project aims to develop electric-powered passenger flights in Scotland

Scotland’s Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Secretary, Michael Matheson MSP, visited Cranfield University on 9th August 2019. He was on a fact-finding mission to learn more about the latest technological developments in sustainable aerospace and aviation.

The Transport Secretary heard from Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of the University. The subsidiary is in a collaboration with Loganair. Together, they aim to develop the world’s first electric-powered passenger flights on island-hopping routes between Orkney and Kirkwall (Project Fresson)

Mr Matheson also toured some of Cranfield’s aerospace and aviation facilities including the Digital Air Traffic Control Centre and the Aerospace Integration Research Centre, a £35 million partnership between the University, Rolls-Royce, Airbus and the UK Government.

As well as current projects, Mr Matheson also heard about the developing Digital Aviation Research Technology Centre (DARTeC) and the Urban Observatory.

DARTEC is a £67 million partnership between the University and major industry partners that will spearhead the UK’s research into digital aviation.

The Urban Observatory allows researchers at Cranfield, through a sensor network, to monitor environmental impact and suggest mitigation strategies at Cranfield Airport.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said:

“It was fascinating to visit Cranfield University to learn more about the latest technological developments in sustainable aviation. It was also inspiring to hear about their work on ‘Project Fresson’, and their collaboration with Loganair aiming to develop the world’s first electric-powered passenger flights on island-hopping routes between Orkney and Kirkwall.”

Professor Iain Gray, Director of Aerospace at Cranfield University, said:

“I was delighted to show the Transport Secretary around Cranfield’s global research airport with its unique facilities.

“We are already seeing Scotland embracing sustainable aviation through developments such as ‘Project Fresson’ and it was a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate to Mr Matheson what more could be achieved through technological developments.”