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
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.