Seventy years ago the Vulcan led the world in aircraft design and it still remains one of the best examples of aerospace innovation and engineering. During its lifetime the Vulcan has enthused and inspired several generations and it now has an added lease of life continuing to do this with young people and future generations of budding designers and engineers.
Inspired by Dr Robert Pleming, the man who spearheaded the restoration and return to flight of Vulcan XH558, The Vulcan to the Sky Trust, it’s education partner The Work-wise Foundation and engineering company CBE+ have been working with the Delta Academy Trust on the “Dr Pleming Delta Wing Challenge”.
Year 8 Students from eight Delta Secondary Schools across the region have been working on a challenge set by the partners and launched at an activity day in September. Students were introduced to the Vulcan and set a challenge to create a design and display for a sculpture which incorporates two original Vulcan wing tips to be displayed at the future home of the aircraft.
Students have been busy working away on their designs over the autumn term with support and technical advice from the partners and design engineer, Steve Wainwright from DN4 Innovation at follow up “Ask the Experts” sessions.
The Schools came together at CBE+ on the 13th December to showcase their ideas to a team of judges from Vulcan to the Sky Trust and industry. They were quizzed not just on their final design but other criteria including; how attractive, interactive and engaging the display is, how practical is it to manufacture, the cost to manufacture, consideration of materials and environmental impact, communication and presentation skills, creativity and evidence of teamworking. Plus one vital additional factor, how the display will be created without impacting on the integrity of the wing tips.
The judges were blown away by the designs, creativity, enthusiasm and efforts of the students from the participating schools; Hull Trinity House, Serlby Park Academy, The Vale Academy, Rossington All Saints, Darton Academy, Garforth Academy, Goole Academy and John Whitgift Academy. After much deliberation the winning design chosen was from The Vale Academy, who took inspiration from Airfix model kits.
The Vale Academy students will now work with Steve Wainwright, the team at CBE+ and The Work-wise Foundation to create a scale model of their design to be displayed at The Get up to Speed with STEM annual Showcase event at Magna Science Adventure Centre on 29th March 2023. The students will gain further insight into how an initial design is taken from concept to production, getting chance to see first-hand and participate in the process.
All the participating schools will be invited back to display their ideas and models at the Get up to Speed event in March. Alongside 30 miniature Vulcan models currently being designed and built by Delta Primary schools as part of the same project.
Commenting on participation in the initiative, Kerry Nobe from Rossington All Saints School said “It’s been a great learning experience for the students, a great opportunity to work collaboratively in groups and a really good way to get STEM into the classroom. I’m hopeful that this will now open the door for our Academies to take part in future competitions and enjoy a different way of learning”.
John Barber CEO from The Work-wise Foundation added “The opportunity for the students to learn about and work with an iconic piece of British engineering is fantastic. We are grateful to Vulcan, CBE+ and DN4 for enabling the students to get involved in a practical, hands-on learning experience and hopefully inspiring some of them to become our future designers and engineers. The learning from such projects is invaluable, helping students not only develop design and technical knowledge but also key employability skills such as communication, presentation, teamwork, problem solving, cost control, determination and project management.”