Yeovilton hosts Flying Start competition final

Students were off to a ‘Flying Start’ as the inspirational student engineering challenge was held at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton.

The Flying Start Challenge is a competition held within the South West across three regions – Bristol, Gloucester and Yeovil. 

The Challenge involving 30 schools within the South West is sponsored by several aerospace companies within the three regions. It is held for students at local schools and aims to help them develop key skills and increase awareness of the excellent careers available in engineering.

The Yeovil Final 2019 was once again hosted by RNAS Yeovilton and sponsored by Leonardo Helicopters.

This year students had the opportunity to hold the final glider challenge in one of the Stations Hangars belonging to 845 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) with Phase 2b Air Engineering Technician trainees alongside Merlin and Wildcat helicopters to reinforce the endless possibilities in aviation and engineering.

The aim is for teams composed of four students to design, build and test a model glider that they will present at the regional Fly-Off. At the Fly-Off, each team will have the chance to fly their glider against schools from the same region and teams will be judged on the distance flown and a presentation detailing the design decisions made.

As the students entered Hangar 7 they could get up close and climb into a Merlin Mk4 from 825 NAS and an Army Wildcat with 659 AAC. Both Royal Navy and Army Personnel were on hand to answer questions.

Participating schools were Bucklers Mead Academy, Huish Episcopi Academy, Sunninghill Preparatory School, Hazlegrove Preparatory School and Sir John Colfox Academy.

Commanding Officer of RNAS Yeovilton, Commodore Nick Tindal welcomed the students to RNAS Yeovilton and it wasn’t long before the teams battled it out with their individually designed, developed and built gliders and all different shapes and sizes were soaring through Hangar 7!

The winners ‘JU 90’ (self-named), from Huish Episcopi Academy reached 33 meters, a fantastic effort, well done! They will now go forward to the regional final to be held later in the year at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton.

The winners were presented with certificates by Commander Nick Sargent, Commander Air Engineering for Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) responsible for maintaining all of CHFs aircraft, airworthiness and 368 Engineers! The winners also received a Gyro Flyer Helicopter which when constructed may fly just a little bit further.