Schoolchildren learn all about aeronautics at RAF Halton

Oakley C of E School and Brill C of E School visited RAF Halton this week as part of the British Aerospace Initiative to introduce Year 5 to the principles and joy of flight and sciences. Photos by Luka Waycott.
Oakley C of E School and Brill C of E School visited RAF Halton this week as part of the British Aerospace Initiative to introduce Year 5 to the principles and joy of flight and sciences. Photos by Luka Waycott.

Pupils from Oakley School and Brill School learned all about aeronautics during a visit to RAF Halton earlier this week.

Sixty pupils from the two schools were split into six groups and took part in six different activities in the all-day event at various locations within the RAF base.

Oakley C of E School and Brill C of E School visited RAF Halton as part of the British Aerospace Initiative this week to introduce Year 5 to the principles and joy of flight and sciences. Photos by Luka Waycott.

Oakley C of E School and Brill C of E School visited RAF Halton as part of the British Aerospace Initiative this week to introduce Year 5 to the principles and joy of flight and sciences. Photos by Luka Waycott.

In one activity the children were briefed by pilots of the Halton Aero Club and Microlight Club on the principles of flight and given the opportunity to sit in a light aircraft as the pilot.

In another activity four RAF STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) ambassadors from RAF Brize Norton took the children through how a rocket performs before getting them to build model rockets and then fire them under controlled conditions.

The children also experienced a map reading activity using grid references and communicating using hand held radios under the guidance of Squadron Leader Malcolm Wood, the London & South East Air Training Corp communication officer and his team.

The British Model Flying Association lead the aircraft model making activity under Jim Wright and his team, when the children made Aerojet models and flew them, supported by Squadron Leader Dempster Hamilton.

Oakley C of E School and Brill C of E School visited RAF Halton as part of the British Aerospace Initiative to introduce Year 5 pupils to the principles and joy of flight and sciences.   Photos by Luka Waycott.

Oakley C of E School and Brill C of E School visited RAF Halton as part of the British Aerospace Initiative to introduce Year 5 pupils to the principles and joy of flight and sciences. Photos by Luka Waycott.

Volunteers from Trenchard Museum, which is based at Halton, also lead a number of other activities including the children ‘flying’ a Chipmunk aircraft flight simulator, a Link trainer simulator (made in Aylesbury by Air Trainers Limited in the 1950s) and discussing the principles of aerodynamics.

Next was the STIXX activity where children converted old newspaper sheets into solid rods and then designed and used the rods to build models under the guidance of RAF STEM ambassador from Benson Flying Officer Hannah Parker with support from Flying Officer Jonny Threlfall, a future RAF pilot and Flight Sergeant Len Brettell, STEM Ambassador based at RAF Halton.

Rishi Radia, careers and outreach officer at the Royal Aeronautical Society Headquarters based in London, who was among the attendees at the event said: “The location and facilities here are extremely well equipped and the range of activities gives the children a well rounded view of aviation and military, and engages them in STEM.

“RAF Halton is one of our biggest supporters as they have a wealth of museum volunteers ready and willing to share their knowledge introducing them to basic physics.

“At the Royal Aeronautical Society we have a fund that schools that are not so well funded can tap into to help with transport costs.

“All in all I have enjoyed seeing the event and will be back.”

Twelve young Royal Air Force recruits helped with running the day by assisting with moving children safely around the activities and supervising proceedings.

Organiser Bill McGrath reflected on the day saying: “It was another very hectic day for all concerned but the smile on the children’s faces throughout the day and as they were given their goody bags provided by the Royal Aeronautical Society at the end of the day, made it all worthwhile.”