A MECHANICAL engineering graduate from Exmoor has won the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) Yeovil Branch's annual young person's lecture competition.

Jennifer Miles, who grew up in the national park and is now a first-year mechanical engineering graduate at Leonardo Helicopters, won the branch's 2022 Reggie Brie Award.

Jennifer, 26, based her presentation around rotors and was motivated to enter the competition to demonstrate what flight mechanics can achieve in the wider world.

Highlights of her presentation included details of the flight physics and the technology behind a tandem helicopter, which has two main rotors for higher lifting capability and added stability.

Jennifer said: “Flight mechanics is fundamental to aviation as it allows you to understand preliminary flight performance and simulate designs before deciding on a final configuration.

“We use simulation software that offers a reasonably accurate assessment of the initial concept, reducing the need to physically test systems, and decreasing the carbon footprint of the programme through the reduction of flight hours.”

Jennifer grew up in Exmoor National Park and became interested in aviation after learning about the history of flight and how it has progressed from the Wright Brothers to today’s cutting-edge technology.

Elizabeth Brie first established the awards in honour of her father Reggie Brie MBE, a pioneer of rotary wing aviation.

The competition allows young members to practice their presentation skills in front of a panel of judges before fielding questions in a discussion session.

Fellow Leonardo participants included research and innovation engineer Will Jennings, who spoke about new innovation models, and structural analysis engineer Mohan Venugopal, who delivered a presentation on sustainable aviation fuel.

Will's presentation focused on his work investigating the different innovation models that can be used to deliver innovation in the new iAero Centre in Yeovil.

Will said: “One of my first tasks after joining the research and innovation team at Leonardo was to research the ways that companies deliver innovation in technology-driven industries.

“I found the topic absolutely fascinating and decided to enter the competition as a way to share my passion for innovation with others.

“Hopefully, the outputs from this work will go on to influence how we can use the new facility at iAero to drive innovation.”

Mohan entered the competition to share his interest in sustainable aviation fuel and how it can be used to help achieve carbon neutrality.

He said: “After joining Leonardo Helicopters, my mentor suggested that I find a topic to research independently outside of work as a means of developing my research skills.

“Initially, I was attracted to electric aviation, as there is a lot of hype in the press about that technology at the moment and ‘flying taxis’ sounds really exciting.

“However, the heavy batteries associated with electric aviation simply cannot output the same amount of energy for a given mass compared to conventional jet fuel.

“That’s when I became interested in Sustainable Aviation Fuels.”