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Scholarship to help student repair late grandfather's classic tractor

Posted 5 March

“I believe, with this support from the Douglas Bomford Trust, I’ll be able to enhance my learning in many ways."

William Flittner (front middle) with the other Douglas Bomford Trust scholars and Dr Miller, Mr David White and Mr Plom

William Flittner (front middle) with the other Douglas Bomford Trust scholars and Dr Miller, Mr David White and Mr Plom

Harper Adams University BSc (Hons) Product Support Engineering student Will Flittner has recently been awarded a Douglas Bomford Trust Scholarship. With some of the funding, he plans to renovate his classic tractor which was left to him by his grandfather.

Will, 23, from Norwich, Norfolk, said: “I’d like to repair and restore my Mitsubishi MT180D compact tractor that my grandfather left to me 14 years ago. It’s in a poor condition mechanically and cosmetically. Some of my university modules, such as dynamics, actuation and problem solving will help me to test the machine, identify problems and then repair them.

“The electrical, fuel and hydraulic systems all need a considerable amount of work and I believe that the experience of doing this would be invaluable as it’s directly relevant to my studies and will improve my practical understanding.”

Before joining university, Will spent a few years out in industry: “My return to education, after four years in the workplace, has been driven by the realisation that in order to fulfil my potential, and have a successful career in agricultural engineering, I need to further the understanding of machinery I’ve obtained through my work and develop high level engineering skills

“In order to be accepted onto the course, I had to combine self-teaching myself for my mathematics A-level, while continuing my farm work.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in farm machinery and its evolution. Some of my earliest memories are sitting on the passenger seat of a brand new John Deere 6600 ploughing. I was transfixed by the soil rolling off the mouldboards of the plough.

“Comparing this machine to a 1950’s Massey Ferguson 35 and further to the 2011 GPS auto steering equipped, fully suspended John Deere 6930 tractor I drove for work in Norfolk, shows the incredible developments that have taken place in agricultural engineering with electronic systems becoming increasingly sophisticated.

“The plough was, for the majority of farmers, an invaluable tool, but within two decades many large-scale growers have changed to minimum tillage and direct drilling systems, which I’ve a particular interest in after seeing the results of such systems when working in Australia and the UK.

“My experience of operating a variety of farm machinery in two different continents in many drastically different farming systems and environments has given me respect and appreciation of ingenious engineering solutions to solve both simple and complex problems.

“I’m keen to be involved in providing innovative engineering solutions to meet present and future worldwide issues while always having regard to the importance of past developments and respecting the rural environment.”

On receiving his scholarship, Will said: “I believe, with this support from the Douglas Bomford Trust, I’ll be able to enhance my learning in many ways. The additional finance will allow me to visit agricultural shows, such as LAMMA, SIMA and more local events and demonstrations. The ability to talk to those involved and network with current professionals will prove inspiring and invaluable from a learning point of view.

“It’s a huge honour to be selected to receive a scholarship from the Douglas Bomford Trust and to have my interest and enthusiasm for British agriculture and engineering recognised."

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