7th December 2015 Montreal, Canada

Canadian students experience education in the fast lane

Like a supersonic race car, sometimes time really flies.

That is what I had to remind myself at the end of whirlwind visit to the UK earlier this fall with a group of aerospace engineering students from Montreal’s Ecole Polytechinique.

Their journey began last June when the British Consulate-General in Montreal and Aéro Montréal organized a student competition on aerospace. The challenge – design your aircraft of the future.

The Ecole Polytechinique team (Carl, Rémi, Alexandre and Mikaël) won the top prize, an educational trip to the UK to visit the facilities and the experts who evaluated their project: Swansea University, Rolls Royce Defence, Bloodhound SSC project and REME.

Science and Innovation Officer Mario Rivero-Huguet with The Ecole Polytechinique team
Science and Innovation Officer Mario Rivero-Huguet and The Ecole Polytechinique team get an up-close look at Bloodhound SSC.

First stop on our tour was a visit to Dr Ben Evans’ Aerospace research facilities at Swansea University Bay Campus. The program was intense and full of hands-on activities, including sessions on the cutting edge Harriet GR7/7A jumbo jet flight simulator and a rousing presentation to 80 fellow aerospace students.

Next up was Rolls Royce, who graciously organised a visit to its defense facilities in Bristol where we got up close and personal the Bloodhound supersonic car EJ200 engine. We were fortunate enough to observe a jaw-dropping test run during which it consumed 4 litres of fuel per second.

But the highlight was when Chief Engineers Mark Chapman and Major Oli Morgan offered a private visit to see the Bloodhound SSC. Over 4 hours we discussed technical, aerodynamics, design and of course budget issues.

Following our Bloodhound experience, Captain Ollie Cartwright from the Royal Electric and Mechanical Engineers drove us to REME’s offices in Tidworth. The four students were given the opportunity to operate military vehicles, including the 70 ton challenger armored repair and recovery vehicle (also known as CRARRV) and the patrol vehicles used in Afghanistan (FV4034 Challenger 2 and the 2 Mastiff protected patrol vehicle).

Having left Bristol we wrapped up our visit in London. We visited the department for Business Innovation and Skills and took in the history and culture of England’s capital with visits to the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the Tower of London.

The days have now passed since we were there in Bristol, but we are still savouring the privilege of seeing Bloodhound up-close, Even after it’s recording-break days are over, it will continue to inspire a whole new generation of talented engineers, including a few from Canada.

About Mario Rivero-Huguet

Based in Montreal, I cover Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces. My focus is on aerospace & space, as well as life sciences and clean technologies. This year I’ll be working…

Based in Montreal, I cover Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces. My focus is on aerospace & space, as well as life sciences and clean technologies. This year I’ll be working with scientists in the UK and Canada to foster international research in those areas. I’ll also work with UK Trade & Investment to promote commercial opportunities for science & tech companies. In my spare time I enjoy outdoor activities; alternative films and eating (not cooking) French cuisine. Follow me on Twitter @mriverohuguet