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Boeing, Coventry school and RAeS celebrate first flight of student-built plane

Posted 19 May 2017 · Add Comment

Boeing and the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) have marked a major milestone in the Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge, as Ernesford Grange Community Academy in Coventry has successfully completed the first public flight of their school-built light aircraft, named G-EGCA, at Coventry Airport.


Courtesy Ian Wells, Ernesford Grange School

The plane was assembled by 33 students and 11 volunteers together with school staff.

The project, created to inspire young people into science, technology engineering and maths (STEM) careers, has now launched four aircraft from school workshops into the skies. The students from years 9 to 11 (aged 14 to 16) have been building the RANS Coyote II light aeroplane -- with guidance from teacher Peter Kobrin and assistance from volunteers – since 2012.

Ernesford Grange Community Academy is one of six schools awarded kits and their plane, G-EGCA, is the fourth to be certified to fly by the Light Aircraft Association (LAA). Whilst the students were awaiting the delivery of their kit they converted a PA-28 aircraft into a flight simulator to train on.


Courtesy Ian Wells, Ernesford Grange School

Once all students have flown as passengers in the plane they built, G-EGCA will be sold to a private buyer, with the funds returned to the programme for reinvestment.

James Aitken, Challenge participant and pupil of Ernesford Grange Community Academy, said: “The best part of the project was the team. Most people I tell can't believe I've actually helped build a real aircraft, and now it has flown!”

The Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge has engaged more than 3,500 young people since the project launched in 2008. It is designed to inspire young people across the UK in the areas of STEM through hands-on, extra-curricular activity. Two aircraft became the first school-built aeroplanes to fly at an international air show when they participated in the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow flying display on Futures Day.

“Boeing is committed to sustaining the highly-qualified pipeline of talent in the UK aerospace industry,” said Sir Michael Arthur, president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing UK and Ireland. “Our industry must work hard to inspire young people to take an interest in science, technology and aviation through engaging in projects like the Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge. Congratulations to the students and teachers at Ernesford Grange Community Academy on their fantastic achievements.”

“It is vital that we develop and nurture STEM knowledge and skills from an early age if the UK is to maintain its technological and competitive advantage in the global aerospace sector,” said Simon Luxmoore, chief executive of the Royal Aeronautical Society. “Providing young people with first-hand experience of what a career in aviation involves, through fun and exciting initiatives like the Schools Build-a-Place Challenge, is one way of achieving this important goal.”

 

 

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