Coachlines - May 2018

30.05.18 John Blauth

First we built a robot…

First, understand the task

On 5th May, Rafferty Wills, aged 10, showed his Grandpa (Group Captain, Past Master, ex-Lightning pilot and then boss of The Queen’s Flight Marcus Wills) how to take-off, fly, and safely land a Cessna 152 simulator, writes Liveryman John Blauth. He also demonstrated the skilful art of racing a small robot to victory in a competitive race of similar machines, all of which had been built that morning by members of the Saturday Engineering Club at Kingston University.

What has this to do with you and the Coachmakers? You, that is to say we, help fund this outreach activity, another dynamic element in our active investment programme in young people.

The Kingston University Saturday Club is now well established and the 2018 programme welcomes 30 children (some with special needs) aged from 14-16, from six local schools. The theme for the current session is space, and this year considers the practical matters to be designed and built to colonise another planet.

Thankfully, Grandson was on hand to explain the finer details

The students in the present cohort are looking at several ideas and concepts beyond the usual rocket theories, and these include nutrition, microbiology, chemistry and robot programming because the intrepid explorers will need to eat and stay healthy while they cautiously inspect and examine the alien world upon which they have landed.

Students have so far made and launched water rockets, experienced a wind tunnel and flight simulator, and have received an introduction to 3D printing. In the sessions they learn, in practical, interesting and fun ways, the links between the elemental forces that govern physics, chemistry, biology and and maths from which all things stem. And STEM is, of course, the Coachmaker link: Science Technology Engineering and Maths are the engines that drive our modern day industries across the aerospace, automotive and coachmaking sectors.

This bit goes there...and don't let the robot eat the crisps!

This bit goes there – and don’t let the robot eat the crisps!

Last month we posted news of the Imperial College London Maker Challenge Move Up programme. Kingston University’s Saturday Club is another example of how we use our charitable funds to help widen STEM opportunities available to children at very important stages of their education.

Incidentally, your present correspondent also took to the ‘air’ in the simulator. An exemplary, though I say so myself, take-off and flawless circuit were followed by a perfect touchdown. Not, alas, on the runway but a ploughed field. Any landing from which you can walk away…