Ever Fancied Building Your Own Aeroplane? … Part 2

TLAC at Families Day 2013[1]

Following on from our previous article in Issue 6 of Marham Matters, here’s the latest update on what is happening.

Well, following some frantic work in the background, plans are now well advanced for the students to start this amazing project. This preparatory work was clearly evident when students, teachers and members of The Light Aircraft Company (TLAC – the manufacturers of the aircraft kit that the students will be building) came together with BAE Systems Education Ambassadors to man a stand at Friends and Families’ Day.

The stand, which included a completed Sherwood Ranger that flew in especially for the day and examples of the components that will be used, was visited by the Station Commander, Steve Debonnaire, UK Availability Director and OC Depth. All commented on the impact that the project will have on the students, and how this type of project will inspire the next generation of engineers.

In addition to the VIP visitors, the stand generated a significant amount of interest amongst the families attending the event, with comments of ‘I wish I’d had an opportunity like this when I was at school’ being frequently heard, whilst one family are looking to relocate so their son can enrol on the course!

And what did the students think of the day? Well here are just two of the comments, first from Will Jamison: ‘It was a good day out. I spoke to lots of people and the airshow was impressive. The Battlebus Challenges were fun. It was good to be able to show the aircraft that we will be building at the NSSA.’

And then from Danny Quinn: ‘I really enjoyed the RAF Marham Families Day. There were many opportunities to learn more about the Tornado, especially the operating demo’s in the hangar. I enjoyed the airshow and saw many different types of aircraft. I would like to go again.’

With the start of the new academic term, work at NSSA will now focus on the academic side of the course, with students starting their BTEC Diploma studies. However, there is still a lot to be done before the build can start in earnest at Christmas as the workshops need to be prepared, the aircraft kit obtained, the students’ hand skills developed, the stores set up, the tools acquired (and etched), the paperwork generated… the list seems endless and keeps growing! In addition, there is a formal opening ceremony to be planned for October and we will report on that in a later edition of Marham Matters.

Finally a plea, the Academy still needs mentors to supervise the students during the build and to give talks to the students to ‘bring to life’ the overall project. So if you would like to get involved in this project, please contact either Euan Lucie-Smith Ext: 7490 or Baz Reed Ext: 7385 for further details.