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Professor Ann Dowling “Towards a Silent Aircraft”

Thursday 10th November 2011
Ann Dowling made her talk about the design of a ‘silent’ aircraft accessible on many different levels. Although she apologized to sound specialists in the audience, I am sure they would have got a lot out of her talk and I found myself wishing I had brought my 12 year old daughter along, such was the breadth of the appeal.
The story: her team’s quest to design an aircraft that would not be as noisy from the ground on take-off and landing. The team looked at sources and directions of noise from first principles as well as operations at airports. The resulting design (a Blended wing body, very futuristic) beat Boeing’s as a low emission design, even though their focus had been on reducing noise!
She takes obvious joy in all these things. The story was good as a people story too: it was a big team looking at all the different aspects, with many specialisms in her team. It was pretty spectacular as a collaboration between industry and academia.
Despite not knowing what was meant by elliptical lift distributions or deployable leading edges, I got a lot out of this talk!
This event was followed by Formal Hall (partridge on the menu!) where it was good to meet new people and catch up with old friends.


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