in Aerospace

Final RAeS Build-A-Plane programme launched

Posted 26 September 2019 · Add Comment

After eleven years, the Royal Aeronautical Society and Boeing UK are bringing their ambitious Schools Build-A-Plane challenge to a close.

Courtesy RAeS

Launched in 2008, the programme provided young people hands-on experience and technical knowledge in building a light aircraft as part of their wider learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Students of the Bridge Learning Campus were on hand to see their creation reach new heights on 26 September 2019. The programme has already seen former students of the programme embarking on careers in aerospace.
Schools were provided with a real light aircraft kit, the Rans SE6 Coyote, and children aged 14-18 were tasked with building the plane to airworthiness standards. Volunteers from the Light Aircraft Association and Royal Aeronautical Society supported the teachers and students with the challenge.
What next? Previously built aircraft have been sold to private owners, and the funds reinvested in a new educational programme – Falcon 2 – which will continue the work of the ‘Schools Build-a-Plane’ initiative and inspire future generations into the aerospace industry. In partnership with Boeing, Aerobility, and the Royal Aeronautical Society, this new challenge tasks students to build a flight simulator adapted for the needs of disabled people.
The students will create both the software and hardware and will be encouraged to incorporate new technologies which can overcome barriers to flying such as visual, hearing, physical or hidden disabilities. The completed simulator will be demonstrated at career events and exhibitions across the UK. Schools can compete to design all or some of the components which will, in turn, be used by Aerobility to inspire prospective pilots.
Prof Jonathan Cooper, President, Royal Aeronautical Society said: “Building a light aircraft kit combines together a range of skills from STEM to the importance of teamwork, communication and commitment. The ‘Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge’ has helped increase the confidence of the young people who took part, with some pupils going on to careers in the aerospace industry. We are immensely proud of the Bridge Learning Campus build team and all our volunteers for their achievement and thank all those involved.”
Sir Martin Donnelly, President of Boeing Europe and Managing Director of Boeing UK and Ireland said: “The students at Bridge Learning Campus have been inspirational in their tenacity and determination to complete the work to build their light aircraft, with the support of family, teachers and volunteers. I know this will have been a valuable learning experience for them, and I hope the Challenge has helped them decide on their future career path. The Royal Aeronautical Society and the LAA have been visionary partners in building the Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge into a programme that has inspired hundreds of students for more than 10 years, and we’ve been honoured to support the initiative.”
Mark Davies, CEO, Bridge Learning Campus said: “This project has been very special for the campus over the last few years. It has enabled many students to contribute to the building of an actual plane. What an achievement both individually and collectively. Those many students, staff and members of the public who volunteered their time can be justifiably proud of what they have accomplished”

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