High-flyers excel in Aerospace Challenge

Tonbridge boys claimed second place in the national finals of the Schools’ Aerospace Challenge 2018.

The team, consisting of Matt Barker (PS5), Jasper Driessen (WH5) and Tommy Rochussen (SC5), won a place in the highly prestigious finals after writing a report setting out some innovative technologies that the RAF could use in the future. 

They were one of just 12 teams from across the country invited to take part in a week-long series of events at Cranfield University earlier in the year, in which they attended lectures given by top figures from the aerospace industry and tried their hand at various activities including indoor skydiving.

In the final event in the competition, taking place at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, the boys had the opportunity to present their ideas to the RAF’s Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier. They also received prize money for the school and for themselves, and met Andy Green OBE, a RAF fighter pilot and current holder of the World Land Speed Record.

A second team from the school, consisting of Alvaro Marco, Jason Wong and Andrew Slater (all PH5), also made the national finals at Cranfield. 

Phil Deakin, the school’s Head of Physics, said: “The Aerospace Challenge was a tremendous experience for all pupils who entered, and Matt, Jasper and Tommy truly excelled in securing second place overall. All six of our finalists want to do pursue careers in this area, and I’m sure the whole process will prove valuable as they progress in their studies.”  

The competition is sponsored by several leading engineering companies, as well as by the RAF and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

Pictured: Sir Stephen Hillier with, from left, Matt, Jasper and Tommy.