Media Release: Cutting-edge aerospace expert praises university for giving him the opportunity to fly


A PERTH-based aerospace expert with an impressive pedigree of using research for modern aerodynamic problems from fighter jets to Formula 1 cars has praised the University of the Highlands and Islands for giving him the opportunity to fly.

Professor Andrew Rae, head of curriculum for engineering, science and technology at Perth College UHI, has been awarded a personal chair, or professorship, from the university in recognition of his previous achievements, industrial experience and progress in expanding the university’s aircraft engineering activities since joining the organisation only three years ago.

Perth College UHI is home to the university’s BEng (Hons) aircraft engineering course, a degree which equips students with an in-depth engineering knowledge across a broad range of modern aeronautical technologies.

It is now complemented by a Master’s programme, including an MSc in air transport operations and management and an MBA in aviation, and by research and consultancy activities with major aerospace and motorsport companies.

“The perceived opportunity that brought me to Perth College UHI and to the University of the Highlands and Islands has become a reality,” explained Professor Rae.

“The prospect of setting up a research group in aeronautics from scratch, for it to be truly multi-disciplinary and more closely linked to industry than traditional academic departments, was very enticing.

“The fact that this is becoming reality is testament to the uniqueness of the university, the excellence of the aircraft engineering staff and the willingness of the senior management at Perth College UHI to invest in that opportunity.”

Professor Rae spent over 20 years working in research and consultancy at the cutting-edge of the aerospace industry.

A world-renowned expert in several aspects of aerodynamics, he has worked for leading aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus, for several Formula 1 teams and on the design of buildings, trains, ships and wind turbines.

He was made a QinetiQ Fellow for his exceptional achievements in wind tunnel testing, computational fluid dynamics analysis and the flight testing of new and modified aircraft.

He is a Royal Academy of Engineering visiting professor in the school of engineering and physical sciences at the University of Surrey and was awarded a visiting professorship at Zhengzhou Institute of Aviation Management and a Chinese Government Foreign Talent Scholarship.

“We are incredibly lucky to have an academic expert of Professor Rae’s calibre working to expand our capabilities in such a specialist field,” said University of the Highlands and Islands acting principal, Dr Crichton Lang.

“His links with industry, combined with the respect of his peers make him an ideal candidate for the award of this personal chair. He understands the aerospace sector and can ensure our graduates meet the exacting and challenging requirements of future employers.”

Margaret Munckton, acting principal at Perth College UHI, was delighted to recommend Professor Rae for the award: “I have known Andrew and his work for three years now and have tremendous respect for his clear strengths as an expert in the aerospace industry and his academic prowess.

“His enthusiasm for research in his chosen field is apparent and this enthusiasm is infectious to his team around him and our students. I am delighted that his personal excellence may be recognised further by this award.”


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