Northern Ireland

Bombardier wing makers win top engineering award

The A220, formerly known as the CSeries Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The A220, formerly the CSeries, has carbon composite wings approximately 10% lighter than the metal equivalent

A Belfast-based team of aerospace designers has won a top engineering award for its work on an eco-friendly jet wing.

The Bombardier working group received the Royal Academy of Engineering's MacRobert Award for its resin-infused advanced composite aircraft wing.

The wing underpins the company's A220 plane and is the first commercial wing of its type.

The Princess Royal presented the team with a gold medal and £50,000 prize.

Environmental impact

The wing minimises the aircraft's environmental impact by reducing both weight and fuel burn in flight, and waste during manufacture.

Compared to a conventional metal wing, Bombardier's carbon composite wing is approximately 10% lighter.

The chair of the judging panel, Dr Dame Sue Ion, reflected the difficulties faced by Bombardier in Northern Ireland in recent years:

"Bombardier's composite wing reflects how excellence in aeronautical engineering benefits both society and the environment.

"At a time of uncertainty for Belfast's engineering community, we hope this award helps them achieve the world-wide recognition they deserve."

'Cutting edge'

Michael Ryan from Bombardier said the company was thrilled to win the award: "It's a fantastic recognition of our highly-skilled workforce, who have created a unique, cutting-edge technology to produce composite wings in Belfast which fly on commercial aircraft around the world."

The MacRobert Award was first presented 50 years ago to the teams that developed the Rolls Royce engine that powered the Harrier jump jet and the Severn Bridge.

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