Year 8s Soar in Flying Start Challenge

The Flying Start Challenge is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) competition run by aerospace companies across the South West of England for local students to develop their science and engineering skills. Students compete in teams of 4 to design and build hand-launched gliders. It involves upwards of 500 students from schools across the region.

After an initial introduction day from Safran Engineers back in February, seven teams from Year 8 worked hard to construct gliders together with posters detailing their project. Flight dynamics, manufacturing, cost and sustainability all had to be considered in their design. After a very close fly-off within school, three teams were selected to represent Pate’s at the Regional Final.

On Tuesday 9 April, the Regional Final took place at the Jet Age Museum*.  After spending time perfecting their gliders and poster presentations, the teams scored very well on these aspects. They also took part in a quiz and engineering challenges as well as being treated to a tour of the Vulcan cockpit. There was excitement as team Pterosaur Aerospace came in Second place, and we were later informed that our other two teams also made it through to the Grand Final as high scoring Runners Up.

This year’s Grand Final was held in May at Aerospace Bristol, where the gliders were thrown under the shadow of Concorde. In addition to a chance to explore the museum, the competitors were put to the test in three engineering challenges involving building mini-catapults, fan-powered cars, and earthquake proof towers. The Pate’s teams approached the day with enthusiasm, demonstrating their creativity in the tasks and, most importantly, they supported each other and the participants from other schools.  Our team The Wrong Brothers won a prize in recognition of their aerospace knowledge.

Congratulations to all the teams who took part; this involved lots of work during lunchtimes and in their own time. A particular recognition to our Regional and Grand Final participants: Pterosaur Aerospace Charlton, George, Pranav, Vikranth; SEAA  Adithi, Sahiti, Elle, Ayra and The Wrong Brothers Kai, Sam, Joshua and Sherwyn.


* The Jet Age Museum is a great FREE day out where you can find out about Gloucestershire’s incredible aviation history: