Programme 10: 30th December 2007

Adam Walton examines the science behind the headlines and reveals the latest scientific research in Wales.

Sunday 30th December at 5.03pm

(Repeated Wednesday 2nd December at 9.30pm)

High Fliers

Science Café is on the road again - or perhaps airborne might be a better

Science Café is on the road again - or perhaps airborne might be a better description. This week we look at the science and engineering behind the world's largest passenger jet. Adam drops in at the Airbus site in Broughton, Flintshire, where the wings for the spectacular 800-seater Airbus A380 are made. He talks to the head of operations, John Gillbanks, about the need for eco-efficiency both in the design of new aircraft and in the wing manufacturing process.

Adam also joins Head of Quality Control, Martin Evans and Gary Jones, the Manufacturing and Engineering Manager on the factory floor where he gets a closer look at the enormous wings for the A380. Martin explains the cutting edge technology and engineering that goes into the wing manufacture while Gary talks about the scientific principles that keep the mighty airliner up in the air.

The Airbus site employs around 7,000 people with a diverse range of skills. Some of the aeronautical qualifications taught just down the road at the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education in Wrexham. Adam talks to Hastings Mackenzie, Head of Science, Engineering and Technology and to some of his students.

And there's more state-of-the-art technology deployed at the University of Swansea where the school of engineering has developed a remarkable flight simulator. Rather than training pilots to fly a particular aircraft, this simulator is used to test the flying ability of any aircraft design the students choose to throw at it. Science Café reporter Paul Morris talks to Dr Hans Sienz and his students about the project.


More information on the Airbus A380


Swansea University Engineering Dept.

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