Vulcan XH558 Inspiring Future Generations

Doncaster UTC

On Thursday 3 March, we welcomed engineering students from Doncaster UTC to visit the iconic Vulcan XH558 on the airfield at DSA. The students have been reinventing the wing of the RAF’s longest-serving Avro Vulcan, XH558, under a partnership with the Trust.

The visit was part of the employer-led engineering project. The students have been using the original plans and sketches of the Vulcan, an iconic example of British aeronautical design excellence. Their task was to redesign the wing of the aircraft using modern materials and manufacturing processes, then presenting their research, sketches, models and a PowerPoint presentation to VTST at the end of the project.

Lindsey Glasby, Senior Vice Principal at the UTC, said of the visit “The weather held out and was such a wonderful experience for our students. It is all they have talked about today!” Some two weeks after the event, reflecting on the day, Lindsey said “they loved the visit and are still taking about it!”

In November 2021, Doncaster UTC won the award for New Educational Institution of the Year – UK. On presenting the award, the organisors said:

“Our judges were impressed with initiatives to inspire young people- in particular the Vulcan XH558 project. We appreciate how important things like this are to help the engineers of tomorrow visualise where their education could take them.” 

Maker{Futures}: Flying Futures

During the year we will be supporting Flying Futures, which is an engineer-led public engagement programme exploring the future of aerospace, run by Maker{Futures} at The University of Sheffield and the Work-wise Foundation. The Flying Futures project looks back at excellence in engineering through the lens of Vulcan XH558 and explores the future of a more environmentally sustainable aerospace industry.

An interactive Flying Futures workshop roadshow running from summer 2022 will build relationships between local schools, the public, the airport, STEM education providers, local aerospace research and development organisations and industry-based engineers.

Operation Vulcan: Bomb-Bay Fuel Tank Exhibit

Operation Vulcan is a competition, created in partnership with Vulcan To The Sky Trust, The Work-wise Foundation and CBE+, which invited secondary schools to design an interactive exhibition to display an original Bomb-Bay Fuel Tank which was removed from Vulcan XH558. The fuel tank was installed inside XH558 when she landed at Bruntingthorpe airfield on her final flight in RAF service and was removed as part of the return to flight project.

Operation Safeguard Bomb Bay Fuel Tank

Schools and teams were supported throughout the challenge and the teams from Westfield School, Sheffield, Sheffield High School for Girls, Wales High School, Eckington School, Rossington All Saints (Delta Academies Trust), Doncaster UTC, Newfield School, Swinton Academy and Trinity Academy were all invited to CBE+ in Chesterfield, in December 2021, for their designs to be reviewed.

The designs were incredibly innovative and all the students who took part should be very proud of themselves. The panel of judges from industry – Andrew Woods, John Barber, Bob Jackson, Andy Tinker and Richard Edwards – produced a shortlist of six designs. The shortlist was further judged with each team being invited to present their design and discuss their idea.

And the winner is… Newfield Secondary School.

On 28 January the winning team were invited to CBE+ to start work on making their design a reality. On 11 March they returned, to work on building the model of their winning design out of custom-made 3D printed materials.

The team were working with experts who are partnered with The Work-wise Foundation – Steve Wainwright CEng FIMechE from DN4 Innovation Management Ltd, Dave Allen from CBE+ and James Oldham from P1 Technology. All the 3d printer components were ready for the students to construct the model with the support of working drawings and guidance from the experts.

The winning design and all other entries were displayed alongside Vulcan XH558’s Bomb-Bay Fuel Tank at Get up to Speed with STEM on 23 March 2022 at Magna Science Adventure Centre.

Dr Pleming’s Delta Wing Project

Dr Pleming’s Delta Wing Project will ask both Primary and Secondary schools from the Delta Academies Trust to get involved in creating displays to showcase the Delta Wing from the Vulcan XH558.

The programme will launch this year with two hands-on activity days – one for Primary and one for Secondary to fully brief and engage students on the upcoming project. These launch days will also include exciting hands-on activities and historical information on Vulcan XH558 to compliment curriculum learning. Delta Academy covers 30 primary schools, 15 secondary schools and 2 alternative provision centres, all of which have expressed an interest in taking part. Participating schools will be linked to local businesses who will act as champions.

These are just a few examples of the exiting projects that Vulcan XH558 is involved with. These outreach projects are testimony to the effect that the Vulcan has on inspiring young people.

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