Engineering students visit French Airbus facility

Nineteen students from Preston’s College flew to Toulouse, France, to learn more about constructing the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380.

The Level 3 HNC and HND Aeronautical Engineering learners visited the Airbus headquarters and training centre to get a first-hand perspective from aerospace experts on how it manages the plane’s full manufacturing process, from the initial transportation of parts from several European countries to the full build and custom fit-out.

The flagship aircraft takes just seven days to assemble before being flown to Hamburg to be painted and fitted out in the airline’s custom interiors, all at a starting cost of $324m per unit.

As part of the visit, the students got to put their flying skills to the test in a state-of-the-art flight simulator in the Musee Aeroscopia (Aeronautical Museum) as well as stepping on board two retired Concorde aircrafts.

The three-day trip also included a visit to the Le Cite De L’espace, a theme park focused on space conquest, where learners gained a fascinating insight into life on an international space station and saw a full-scale replica of the Ariane 5 rocket.

Bob Howard, aeronautical engineering lecturer at Preston’s College, said: “Our learners had an amazing first-hand experience into the production of one of the world’s leading aircraft.

“The whole experience gave them an appreciation for the aerospace industry and the opportunity to see the range of careers available from passenger transportation to space exploration.

“Ultimately, it instilled a greater passion for science, technology and engineering and will help towards the College’s mission of making our students the most employable by giving them the skills and understanding to complement their qualification when progressing into employment or onto further study.”

Preston’s College offers Aeronautical Engineering courses from Level 3 to HND with provision housed on campus in the industry-leading iSTEM Centre. The £13m development is one of the leading STEM centres in the North of England, allowing learners to gain experience in a real work environment.

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