Preston S College Merlin XX Aeroengine

Aeronautical Engineering learners at Preston’s College recently took a trip down memory lane after powering up a legendary WWII Rolls-Royce aeroengine on campus.

The 27 litre V12 Merlin XX [no. 26071] roared home the tones of yesterday to give learners the chance to witness the craftsmanship of their forefathers almost 80 years go.

The event enabled learners to understand the grassroots of their studies, allowing them to compare the war-time aircraft with the contemporary models used in the College’s workshop.

The half-ton aeroengine is one of the last of many thousands that powered some of the greatest aeroplanes during World War II and was fitted to aeroplanes such as the renowned Spitfire, Hurricane Interceptor and the Lancaster Bomber.

The Merlin XX was restored by Peter Grieve and the late Robin Byers in 2000, taking the pair 6 years and 3500 hours to store to full working order.

Dan Martin, studying HND Aeronautical Engineering at Preston’s College, said: “I love the fact that my course allows me to gain a hands-on experience of working on a fully functioning aircraft.

“The practical elements of my course are vital to allow me to learn industry skills, knowledge and experience which will make me the most employable after my studies.

“Seeing the Merlin XX aeroengine in action demonstrates that our learning isn’t limited to new aircrafts. It allows us to visually see how they have developed and progressed from historical to contemporary models we work on today.”

The College’s programme team leader for Engineering, Mohammed Hoq, added: “Our learners had a brilliant first-hand experience into understanding the grassroots of their studies.

“Having the Merlin XX aeroengine on Campus provided learners with a fantastic opportunity to witness a war-time aircraft in action to compare this with the contemporary engines learners work on in the College’s workshops.”

Preston’s College offers Aeronautical Engineering courses at Level 3 to Higher National Diploma (HND) with places still available in September. To find out more, visit:

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