Airbus, Cranfield select landing systems expert

Cranfield University has appointed Martin Skote as Airbus professor of landing systems engineering.

He joins the University from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Modern aircraft design has led to lighter fuselage and wings, as well as quieter engines. The development of landing gear, however, is lagging behind. As airports reach maximum capacity, and the option of occupying more space is not viable, landing systems will need to be developed which allow aircraft to operate in much closer proximity to each other, both in time and space.  This may mean changes to not just aircraft design, but also changes in operational ground technology and methods.

Professor Skote will create a centre for landing systems engineering and the team will focus not just on the mechanical, electrical and hydraulic aspects of aircraft landing gear but also consider landing systems as a part of a much larger ecosystem. This could include airport infrastructure and air traffic management, together with all future innovative and disruptive technologies such as autonomous taxiing and intelligent landing.

Professor Iain Gray, director of aerospace at Cranfield University, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Martin to the University. His appointment is a great example of Cranfield’s relationships with world-renowned businesses. Martin is the second Airbus role at the University dedicated to research on future aircraft design, which will deliver additional benefits both to Airbus and across the aerospace industry.”

Ian Bowcock, head of landing gear product and business strategy at Airbus, said: “With the ever demanding and challenging requirements for new technologies in aerospace, it is essential to maximise the combined strengths of both industry and academia. Airbus has a well-established relationship with Cranfield University and the appointment of dedicated research chair in landing systems engineering will enable the development of a high-calibre research team to work alongside Airbus engineers in this key area, delivering world-class research and ultimately ensuring Airbus continues to offer an industry-leading product portfolio.”

The new centre will support Airbus’ landing systems research portfolio, developing research in overall landing systems design and integration, to include topics such as noise, drag, vibration, braking, shock-absorbers, advanced materials, and sensors together with network communications.

Prior to his current position, Professor Skote was an Assistant Professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, with a research focus on turbulence, flow control and computational fluid dynamics. He was also Cluster Director at the University’s Energy Research Institute for a research team comprising 15 research staff. During his 10 years at the University, he attracted around two million pounds in research grants from industry and government funding bodies.

Before taking up his academic position in Nanyang Technological University, Professor Skote worked for the Institute of High Performance Computing in Singapore, developing a numerical simulation code for air pollution dispersion simulations in collaboration with the National Environment Agency. His PhD in turbulence was awarded (2001) from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in his native country of Sweden.

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