The 2012 Farnborough Air Show’s Innovation Zone was a great opportunity for the Royal Aeronautical Society to showcase its innovative work in education and careers with eye-catching Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge displays and further promotion of the Careers in Aerospace website and accompanying careers service.
Throughout the show, as well as hosting a stand to meet existing and potential members, the Society displayed the fanastic work of local schools, led by Yateley School, in completing the build of the G-YTLY SE6 Coyote aircraft, its last static display before beginning the ground and flight test phase for its Permit to Fly. Showing that dry ice and astro turf is not just for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics, SBAP Project Officer Freddie Martin - in his last week seconded from his usual role from the MoD Defence and Support Equipment Group - devised and built an imaginative display picturing the aircraft on grass with special effects to create a reimagination of the aircraft flying through clouds using dry ice. This attracted visitors in the Innovation Zone throughout the week including Minister for Universities and Science David Willets MP who opened the Zone on Tuesday 10 July. Mr Willets spoke at length with Yateley pupils Grace Roaf and Oliver Vass about the Schools Build-a-Plane Programme and was impressed with the work that had been achieved by the young people and teachers involved and the commitment to promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects with a real-life project of this scale by the Royal Aeronautical Society, Boeing and the LAA.
The Yateley aircraft was joined by the second Rans aircraft in the programme, the Stroud aircraft, fresh from its display at RIAT 2012, which provided another popular display in the outside area of the Innovation Zone for Futures Day on Friday 13 July and throughout the Public Weekend. Once again, with a stunning glass marquee, huge banners, an activity tent and most importantly representatives from the schools, including teachers and pupils, and the LAA and Society’s Young Members, the area was buzzing come rain or shine (and there was a lot of rain!).
Ernesford Grange Community School, Coventry, also brought their flight simulator to Futures Day which they have been building as part of the wider educational plan for their build-a-plane project for which kit-building will begin this Autumn. The flight simulator, innovatively housed in an aircraft fuselage being renovated was also hugely popular with children and families queuing up to have a go at flying to sunnier climes.
Following a successful week for the Royal Aeronautical Society stand in the Innovation Zone, the stand was transformed into a Careers in Aerospace welcome desk and promotional area for Futures Day and the Public Weekend to attract more visitors to the popular website that the Society runs in partnership with ADS, www.careersinaerospace.com and help visitors to the show with careers advice. Around 3,000 copies of Career Flightpath magazine were also distributed with its fresh design and helpful, impartial advice and features proving a hit. We also welcomed Dutch representatives from the European student body Euravia to the stand who also provided much advice and showcased their own initiative to link up students in aerospace from across Europe.
You can find out more about the Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge and why teachers and young people throughout the UK have been keen to take part in our new video, showcased at Farnborough:
There is also a new Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge website www.sbapchallenge.com and finally, look out for our new plans, the Falcon Initiative in the coming months which aims to build on the successes of SBAP and provide more schools with hands-on aviation opportunities.
Our thanks to ADS for their support in the Innovation Zone and for the Careers in Aerospace website and again to Boeing to the Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge and participation at the air shows and to the LAA for their SBAP support.