Boys impress in Aerospace Challenge finals

Two teams of Tonbridge Sixth Form boys have achieved ‘podium finishes’ in the national finals of the Schools Aerospace Challenge 2019.

The teams participated in the final round of the competition, held at Cranfield University in July, after which both were awarded a top three position.

Just 12 teams from across the country won the right to take part in the highly prestigious finals. In order to qualify, entrants had to write a report about potential threats posed by UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles, such as drones) to UK airspace, asking them to find practical and economically sound solutions. 

As well as each team winning cash prizes for their school, the boys will now have the opportunity to present their ideas to Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier in an event taking place at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in November. At that time, the teams will also be awarded their final positions in the competition.

Team ‘Dye Hard’ consisted of Ollie Poole (WH5), Chris Leigh (WH5) and Cristian Smith (PH5), the latter standing in at Cranfield for Ben Burgess (WW5); while Team ‘Soteria’ consisted of Max Lawrence (PS5), Alex Lawrence (PS5) and Cole Weber (CH5).

Also taking part in the national finals was Team ‘4’, namely Ralph Lavercombe (JH4) and Olly Gedney (PS5).

As part of their five-day stay at Cranfield, the boys attended lectures by leaders in the aerospace industry (including representatives from Rolls Royce and Reaction Engines), experienced indoor skydiving, worked on in-flight experiments in a specially designed plane and tackled construction tasks.

Phil Deakin, Head of Science at Tonbridge, said: “I’m full of admiration for the creativity and effort shown by the boys, who did all this in their free time. The Aerospace Challenge is a tremendous experience, especially for those who wish to pursue careers in engineering and aerospace. It gives them an opportunity to meet leading professionals from the aerospace industry and to put much of their learning into action.”

Pictured below: Team Sotaria (seated), and Team Dye Hard (standing).