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Launched today: Schools STEM challenge to build accessible flight simulator

News actualites aeromorning

The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) has today launched a new competition, Falcon2, aimed at young people aged 6-19 to design and build an accessible mobile flight simulator.

The Falcon2 challenge builds on the success of the previous RAeS build-a-plane challenge which was designed to enable young people to develop and demonstrate key skills which future employers and training providers look for and to learn more about opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and aviation.

Alongside the Royal Aeronautical Society the partners in Falcon2 are Boeing, the disabled flying charity, Aerobility, and Middlesex University.

We are today inviting young people aged 6-19 to use their science and engineering skills to design, develop and build a real-life mobile flight simulator which will travel to Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) schools and public events around the UK to introduce people from all backgrounds to the wonder of flight.

For many people, the opportunity to fly a plane may seem impossible, particularly to those with disabilities. However, Aerobility has developed a range of programmes and aircraft adaptations that allow many disabled people to do just that – learning to fly an aircraft and gain their pilot’s licence, providing the ultimate feeling of freedom, pride and independence.

The challenge is split into two phases:

PHASE 1 – The Design Brainstorm Challenge

A poster competition to present design and technology ideas for an accessible flight simulator, with the chance to win prizes for school or youth groups. Prizes include fully funded educational visits and vouchers for schools and groups.

There are two age categories for Phase 1 – one for primary ages 6-11 and one for secondary ages 11-19.

PHASE 2 – The Big Build

The winning build teams will take on one or more fully funded work packages for the flight simulator, culminating in the final assembly FlightSimCamp at Blackbushe Airport in Hampshire in summer 2023 where teams will integrate the different components which they have worked on into the flight simulator.

This phase is open to secondary ages only, and we particularly welcome entries where mainstream schools, colleges or youth groups along with industry representatives team up with SEND schools whether virtually or face-to-face.

There are ten work package which break down the flight simulator build into key engineering and technology projects which schools or youth groups can bid for, for example creating accessible seating for the motion platform, visual displays, flight controls or leading the build of a roadworthy trailer to safely transport the simulator around the UK once it is complete.

David Edwards FRAeS, Chief Executive of the Royal Aeronautical Society, said,

“Falcon2 is a great opportunity for schools and industry to get involved in a really unusual, but incredibly interesting project. Not only will young people be able to work on and possibly even build a mobile flight simulator, but they will be helping to encourage disabled people to get involved in aviation and change lives.”

Prof Mehmet Karamanoglu Head Design, Engineering and Mathematics at Middlesex University, said:

“We are very proud and privileged to be part of the Falcon2 programme. This is such a great project, providing inspiration and opportunity for all to get involved and help those who would not otherwise have the chance to experience the joy of flying. Our team of experts can’t wait to see the new entries and get stuck in to advise and assist the budding engineers, scientists and innovators of tomorrow.”

Mike Miller-Smith MBE FRAeS, Chief Executive of Aerobility, said:

“Disabled people don’t always get the chance to access fun and educational activities such as flying a flight simulator. This competition will not only deliver a first-class simulator which will be accessible to all, but all the competition entrants will be considering and learning about inclusive design – a key part of STEM. The Big Build also promises to be great fun!” 

About the Royal Aeronautical Society

The Society is the only global organisation serving the entire aviation and aerospace community as both a learned society and a professional engineering institution. As such, the RAeS is independent, evidence-based and authoritative, relying on a body of knowledge going back more than 150 years. We play a leading role in influencing opinion on aviation and aerospace matters through various means including our publications, social media profile, interaction with Government and an extensive events programme. 

For more information about the Royal Aeronautical Society visit www.aerosociety.com, or follow RAeS on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

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