On 22nd March, the two remaining teams of Clifton High Year 9 pupils took part in the National Finals of the Flying Start Challenge. The teams had big boots to fill as a Clifton High School team won the overall top prize in last year’s competition.
The final was held at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, next to the Royal Navy Airbase in Yeovilton. During the day, over 50 teams participated in various engineering challenges, including making an auto-rotate-copter, a propeller driven vehicle (to go up an inclined zip-wire) and a compressed air driven car (the Bloodhound Challenge). Pupils learnt about the exhibits and had the opportunity to talk to graduate engineers and VIP assessors from the multiple sponsoring companies: Atkins, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, GKN Aerospace, SAFRAN, BAE Systems, Leonardo Helicopters and MDBA. The competing teams also had to present their glider and poster to eminent senior engineers from the sponsoring companies and were asked questions about their gliders and the physics of flight.
At the end of the day, the fly-off was held on the simulated deck of an aircraft carrier, amongst naval aircraft. Our ‘Pring-Mageddon’ team won the longest flight, over 29 metres, and were judged the best team overall, winning £1000 of STEM (Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering) vouchers for the School along with a glider flight each and an airfix model. Not only that, but Clifton High’s ‘The Flying Hippies’ team came second overall, winning £500 of STEM vouchers for the School and a remote control helicopter each.
Aidan, Arthur and Mungo should be congratulated on their outstanding performance but so too should James, Tom, Oliver D. and Oliver L. for not just matching, but allowing Clifton High to surpass their achievements of last year and get the top two slots!
Thank you to everyone who was involved in organising and running this competition and especially our enthusiastic graduate engineers who supported us all day.