Cranfield Aerospace Solutions celebrates 75 years of continuous Design Approvals

Cranfield College of Aeronautics

Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS) this year celebrates 75 years of continuous Design Approvals, which have enabled the company to deliver world-leading complex modifications and underpin its future as a global leader in the development of zero-emissions aircraft.

The company’s CAA Design Approval stretches all the way back to 1948, and the start of the Cranfield College of Aeronautics.

The College acquired a fleet of experimental and trials aircraft for its students which needed maintaining and modifications designing and certifying. The original approval, DAI/2436/48, was granted in 1948 and the scope has remained remarkably unaltered since, covering modifications and repairs to almost all types of aircraft.

At one point the company also had a whole-aircraft design approval covering the A1 aerobatic aircraft that were designed and built in the late 1970s.

Over the last 75 years the name of the entity holding the approval has changed, including Cranfield Institute of Technology, Cranfield University, Cranfield Aerospace, and the current Cranfield Aerospace Solutions.

Earliest physical copy of approvals, dating 9th October 1991

The design office has also migrated over this period, but the aircraft have always been based in Hangar 2 at Cranfield, which is currently undergoing a revamp ready for a major year in CAeS’ testing programme for Project Fresson – the conversion of a conventional 9-seat Britten-Norman Islander to hydrogen-propulsion.

In 2005 CAeS also gained its EASA Design Organisation Approval, EASA.21J.145. The scope was similar, but the company now operated under European Part 21 regulations. This continued until the UK left the EU at which point, we were issued with our current approval, UK.21J.0145.