Flying Start

Last week Year 9 enjoyed a day off timetable to work with Airbus engineers on the 'Flying Start Challenge'. The day gave the girls and boys a chance to gain some insight into the aviation industry by building a glider. The Challenge aims enthuse and inspire young people to consider a career in the engineering industry; whilst teaching them about basic engineering concepts. Success is down to the pupils' design and build skills, and down to the engineering knowledge they have acquired during the Challenge. 

Over the course of the day the Year 9s worked in teams to design and build a glider. The activity helped them to develop their communication and teamwork skills in an educational (and fun!) setting. It was a vital requirement that the glider they produced could carry a weight of 40g - any gliders which could not meet this requirement were given a score of zero. Beyond this points were awarded for distance and accuracy - the highest scoring gliders were those which could fly the furthest in a straight line.      

The pupils were taught about the theory of lift, and about how symmetry, and balance of weight and lift, lends to a successful glider. They also had to consider their materials budget, a financial skill which is vital for future careers. The Challenge continues with a regional final, in which pupils have to complete a poster presentation and a quiz to illustrate their knowledge of gliders, and will culminate in the grand final at Fleet Air Museum where the teams will also take part in engineering activites.