July 21, 2024

Prize win for Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering student who designed an aircraft fit for Mars

An Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering student has been awarded for his “immense innovation and commitment” after designing an aircraft capable of a flight on Mars.

Jamie Horn, who graduated with a First Class degree in Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering at Wrexham Glyndwr University, is this year’s local winner of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) prize.

The 21-year-old was recognised for his final year dissertation, which was titled ‘Development of Next Generation Air Vehicles for Mars and Beyond’. The project was two-fold, as part of it, Jamie performed an investigation on unmanned aerial (UAV) vehicles used on other planets, and also created his own design of a powered UAV – a fixed wing drone, which tutors said was capable of flight in the atmosphere of Mars.

After being announced as winner, Jamie said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be this year’s winner of the local IMechE prize, it came as a real surprise as I wasn’t expecting it at all.

“For me winning is the icing on the cake, as I really enjoyed my studies. My subject is not only fascinating but it’s wide-ranging too. For my dissertation I largely focussed on the aerodynamics of the air vehicles – and a lot of my research focussed on what NASA was working on.

“Once I designed the aircraft I simulated a mission under Martian conditions using Ansys – engineering simulation software.”

Nick Burdon, Senior Lecturer in Engineering at Wrexham Glyndwr University, said: “A huge congratulations to Jamie, who was an excellent and highly committed student during his time with us. As part of his dissertation, he led a fantastic investigation on all “air” vehicles used on other planets.

“He also showed immense innovation by creating his own design of a fixed wing drone, which was capable of flight on Mars. Using techniques learnt as part of the degree course’s aircraft design module, he developed the design from initial concept to a far more detailed design using his own custom requirements that the drone had to achieve. This resulted in a proposal that could be taken forward to actual construction.

“Jamie is a more than deserving winner of this year’s IMechE prize.”


Jamie, who is now studying for a Master’s degree in International Air Transport Operations and Management at ENAC in Toulouse – France’s National School of Civil Aviation, said the support he had while studying at Wrexham Glyndwr University was “second to none”.

He added: “Despite the fact, my course was only taught face-to-face for six months as a result of the Covid pandemic, the support I received from tutors was absolutely brilliant. Nick, in particular, was fantastic – he was always on-hand if any of us needed anything, I can’t thank him enough.”