1710 NAS Support local school science and technology events

Topic: Fighting armsFleet Air Arm

Portsmouth school-children paid a visit to 1710 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) in Portsmouth Naval Base to see for themselves the kind of work that Civil Service scientists conduct in support of the Navy Command and the wider defence community.

1710 NAS is a centre of excellence providing specialist engineering, repair, upgrade and scientific support to Royal Navy air squadrons and military front line units on air, sea and land operations across the world.

As part of their local community outreach the unit works with local schools to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and the potential opportunities these provide through the national STEM ambassador scheme.

A group of 12 children from Meon Junior School, Portsmouth, paid a visit to 1710 Naval Air Squadron, to experience the types of work the Unit’s Aviation Forensics team do for accident investigations and to see the laboratories they call home.

The students took part in a “hands-on” exercise alongside Royal Navy scientists to investigate a mock accident site and come up with a theory of what happened to the aircraft.

Their task was to examine the site, gather witness statements and analyse the collected evidence using the scientific equipment in the laboratory to “rule-out and in” potential causes of the crash. 

This task allowed the students to see, use and learn about some of the scientific equipment in the laboratory.

The Squadron’s Aviation Forensics team provides key scientific and engineering support on accidents for the Defence Air Accident Investigation Branch to aid enquiries and identify potential safety issues related an incident in order to prevent it from happening again. 

Scientist Matthew Easom, who is one of the Unit’s STEM ambassadors said:  “It’s a great opportunity to show these students the diverse nature of science and engineering present, not just in the Ministry of Defence, but the wider STEM community.

“They really took to the activity and the chance to use the laboratory equipment.”

“Many of them will have never had a chance to talk with a scientist and probably are used to the cartoon portrayal of the “mad scientist” with a tube of bubbling fluid, laboratory coat and big goggles.

“Today they have seen a different aspect of the profession and took the opportunity to ask us many questions and enjoyed themselves.”         

It’s a great opportunity to show these students the diverse nature of science and engineering

Matthew Easom