Inspiring schoolchildren about aerospace at Snowdonia drone competition

Date: 24/04/2019
Llanbedr

Gwynedd Council is supporting a programme to invite 120 local school children take part in aerospace workshops at this summer’s international drone design competition which is returning to the Snowdonia Aerospace Centre in Llanbedr in June.

The UAS Challenge competition, which is organised by Institution of Mechanical Engineers and supported by Welsh Government, attracts hundreds of students with university teams coming from as far as Canada, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to fly their aircraft in the event.

The pupils from all of the Meirionnydd secondary schools, and the local primary school, Ysgol Llanbedr will have an opportunity to talk to the students about their drones, watch the aircraft compete in the “fly-off” and make their own model gliders.

As part of the engagement programme, Gwynedd Council has also sponsored an art and design competition Air Adventures in which the children are asked to submit ideas for aircraft to fight wildfires.

Councillor Gareth Thomas, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Community said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring STEM activities for local school pupils once again at this year’s IMechE UAS Challenge.  At last year’s event, young people were able to take part in engineering activities, and speak to engineering teams from universities across the world – we hope this year’s STEM activities will build on that success, and are very pleased to include provision for primary-aged children.”

Peter Finegold, Head of Education & Skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “Air Adventures provides school pupils with a fantastic opportunity to apply creative ideas to humanitarian challenges…and win prizes. The Air Adventurers of today will be the aircraft designers of tomorrow.”

Snowdonia Enterprise Zone Advisory Board Chair Dr John Idris Jones added: “The Board have been eager to ensure that the local community are engaged in the work of Enterprise Zone and get hands on experience of what the future could hold for the Llanbedr site. This is a great opportunity and I’m pleased that children of all ages will be able to take part in activities during the event. STEM subjects are going to vital to a rapidly evolving aerospace sector and we hope that the site can provide real employment prospects for our young people.”

The Welsh Government is supporting the UAS Challenge which will showcase the unique features of Llanbedr’s Snowdonia’s Aerospace Centre to both the local community and a wider international audience. Other sponsors include GKN Aerospace, QinetiQ, Bombardier, Raytheon and Fraser Nash.

PHOTOGRAPH: Some of the pupils who have already taken part in activities