A team of Cheltenham Prep STEM Club members flew their hand-made glider under the famous Concorde at Fleer Air Arm Museum as part of a national engineering competition. The Grand Final of the Flying Start Challenge was held at the museum in Yeovilton, a National stage that our pupils had qualified for, having come in the top three of the Regional round.
The competition involved a number of engineering activities and presentations. The day started with an exciting presentation by the Bloodhound SSC team, a supersonic car designed to go faster than the speed of sound and break the land speed record. This led on to the pupils designing and building their own air powered car using limited equipment. Later they used the principles of flight they had been introduced to in the STEM sessions to design a helicopter rotary system that would support a pilot teddy and guide him safely from the second floor of the museum to the ground. This then had to land accurately at the centre of a target. Designing the carriage that would travel uphill along a zip wire was the final challenge, using only elastic bands, lolly sticks, paper clips and tape! Very tough, but the boys worked very effectively together and applied lots of the principles of lift, drag, yaw and roll they have been learning during STEM sessions. Matthew, Jasper and Drew were hugely successful and came first, second and third in their groups in the engineering competitions.
The qualifying team of Willoughby, Archie and Aiden also had to present their design to the Chairman of Safran, the aircraft engineering company, and some of the lead engineers from Rolls Royce and Airbus. The boys were confident and explained their designs clearly using lots of the technical terms they had learnt over the last two terms. They were given quite a grilling about their design and Mrs Wells, Head of Science and champion of STEM club, was hugely impressed with their calm approach. The day was bought to a close when Willoughby, Archie and Aiden flew their glider along the runway in the Museum hangar. The flight was less successful than the Regional round but to reach the National Grand Final was a huge achievement in itself. It was a brilliant day and the pupils were great ambassadors for Cheltenham Prep. They enjoyed exploring all of the planes (particularly Concorde) and helicopters and learnt so much about the huge range of aircraft on display. STEM Club members look forward to competing again next year.