Flying Classroom Takes to the Sky with Support from Starling

A project to facilitate the training of the next generation of aerospace engineers in the UK’s only ‘flying classroom’ is fully operational thanks to the aircraft interior specialist, Starling Aerospace.

Working in partnership with Cranfield University’s National Flying Laboratory Centre (NFLC), Starling has completed a six-month program of modification and re-certification of all 35 seats in the NFLC’s Saab 340B aircraft, which is the latest educational asset to join the university’s fleet.

The project required a bespoke solution for the fitment of computer tablets and other equipment to each seat-back of the flying classroom. Starling was responsible for the complete design, fabrication, modification, re-certification and installation process, which provides aerospace engineering students from more than 20 universities and Cranfield to gain invaluable flight test experience as part of their research studies.

Operating from Cranfield’s Global Research Airport in Bedfordshire, the Saab 340B is unique in the UK in its role to create new research capabilities, including projects which test the development of advanced aerospace technologies and flight operations.

“Supporting Cranfield’s training program of future aerospace engineers has made this an exceptionally rewarding undertaking for Starling and one that required a complex array of technical challenges to be overcome, regarding bespoke design, parts manufacture and stringent re-certification,” said Starling’s co-founding director, Coralie Wigg. “Our team of design engineers and fabricators rose to these challenges with great professionalism and we were very proud to have partnered with Cranfield in support of its endeavours.”

Richard Jones, Aircraft Technical Manager, National Flying Laboratory Centre, said:
“Starling Aerospace delivered a fantastic ‘future proof’ solution to accommodate the Microsoft Surface Pro tablets in the headrests of the Saab 340 cabin seats, for our flying classroom tutorials. We were equally impressed with the durability and finish of the synthetic leather together with high standard of workmanship achieved by the whole Starling team.”