Airbus A350 Chief Engineer inducted into the Engineering Hall of Fame

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Dr Gordon McConnell, BSc (Hons) Mechanical Engineering graduate (1975) who led the design of the Airbus 350, is one of four engineers to be inducted into the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame.

Following his graduation in Paisley, Gordon joined Scottish Aviation Ltd at Prestwick in 1975 as a Stress Engineer, and in 1988 was appointed Chief Engineer responsible for the Jetstream 41 development programme at Prestwick. Gordon went on to become Technical Director, British Aerospace Jetstream Aircraft, before being asked by BAe to join Airbus in Toulouse as Chief Engineer.

Gordon Masterton, Founder and Chairman of Judges for the Hall of Fame, said: “Gordon McConnell is a great addition to our celebration of Scottish Engineering achievement. Developing the complex A350XWB aircraft involved pioneering design, analysis, simulation and test work by thousands of skilled engineers on all five continents of the world. Leading this huge engineering team effort to meet stringent safety requirements, performance and design targets and industrial milestones was an exceptional achievement, reflecting in its record sales for Airbus.”
In 2008, Gordon was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from UWS and in 2014 was awarded the Royal Aeronautical Society Gold Medal, awarded for work of an outstanding nature in Aerospace.

Dr McConnell is joined by Mary (Molly) Fergusson, the first woman to lead a major civil engineering consultancy in the UK and strong supporter of the Women’s Engineering Society celebrating its centenary this year; William Murdoch, the “third man” in the success story of Boulton & Watt steam engines, the enterprise that pioneered the industrial revolution, and John Scott Russell, another steam carriage designer but better known for building the biggest ship in the world at the time, the ‘Great Eastern’.

Collectively, the 39 members now in the Hall of Fame tell the story of 450 years of world-beating engineering innovators who created huge improvements in the quality of life and economy of Scotland, the United Kingdom and, through the many itinerant engineering Scots like Gordon McConnell, the world.

Welcoming the announcement of the new inductees, Paul Sheerin, Chief Executive of Scottish Engineering, said: “Once again, the annual inductees to our Hall of Fame underlines the breadth of inspirational Engineering role models we enjoy in Scotland, spanning aerospace, civil, mechanical and naval engineering. It’s especially welcome to see Gordon McConnell’s induction underlining the importance to Scotland’s aerospace industry of the many branches that Scottish Aviation Ltd was the root of, and this is mirrored in Gordon’s own varied and hugely influential career.”

The Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame was launched in 2011 by The Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland (IESIS), and is supported by engineering institutions, museums and trade bodies in Scotland, including Scottish Engineering.

We interviewed Dr McConnell back in 2015 – read the full interview.

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