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Phil Moxon, AC for Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland

The annual Aviation Challenge returned to Hartlepool FE College on Wednesday 3 July. Teams of 4 Year 12 students from 12 schools across the North East took part in this challenge to design, build and fly a model glider. The event is jointly arranged by the AMSP, Teesside University and Hartlepool FE College.

After a short presentation on the range of careers in aviation, the students were given some prepared wings and a fuselage to join together. They had to then balance the model using some basic moments of forces and fly the glider. A short presentation from one of the college staff then demonstrated some of the basic principles effecting the flight of planes. This considered aspect ratios, forces and possible designs of wings which would enable a plane to fly successfully. Students were then given time to design their own model glider with the support of the college staff and then build their design. During this time the students also had the opportunity to visit the on-site hangar to see the planes, helicopter and jet engines with the possibility of sitting in the cockpit. Some of the students also took the chance to try the flight simulator.

At the end of the day, there was a fly-off to find the winning team. The standard of models was outstanding this year and it was a close competition with Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy from Gateshead just beating Whitburn CoE Academy into second place.

Prizes were presented by Yan Founde from Hartlepool FE College to the winning team, and all schools received a small plaque as a memento of the day.

Some student comments on the feedback forms about the day:

  • “enjoyed working as a team”
  • “very informative and good day out”
  • “enjoyed the independence and problem solving element of the day”
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