Boeing, the Royal Air Force and the Air League have joined forces to launch an exciting new programme that will see dozens of teenage air cadets build an ultralight aircraft.

The programme, called Centennial Wings, was launched at Farnborough on the date of Boeing’s centenary, with a completion date in 2018 – the RAF’s own centenary. It is planned that the aircraft will fly at Farnborough in 2018, adjacent to the site of the founding of the Royal Flying Corps, which became the RAF in 1918.

Centennial Wings is designed to complement and enhance the existing RAF Air Training Corps cadets’ curriculum with hands-on practical application of classroom theory, in order to help inspire young people in Britain to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and to take an interest in careers in the military and aerospace.

“It is fitting that on the day of Boeing’s centenary and the air show’s Futures Day, when we are looking ahead to the next 100 years of aerospace innovation, we can announce this new educational programme to benefit ATC cadets in Northern Ireland,” said Sir Michael Arthur, president, Boeing Europe and managing director, Boeing UK. “These young men and women are the future of our industry and I could not be more proud that we can support this engaging, hands-on STEM initiative.”

Approximately 70 ATC cadets from the Northern Ireland ATC Wing containing 17 Squadrons* will work to assemble a Sting S4 ultralight aircraft from kit, under the guidance of Sqn Ldr Ian Campbell, Wg Cdr Mike Miskimmin and volunteers from the Ulster Aviation Society, located in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. Boeing engineers will also mentor the programme.

“I am delighted with the commitment and progress of the ATC cadets here in the Northern Ireland Wing. Thanks to Boeing and The Air League the group will be able to develop further the vital technical and life skills they have gained through the ATC Cadet curriculum,” said Sqn Ldr Ian Campbell.

The team of ATC cadets will plan and build the aircraft over a total of more than 400 hours and use the completed Sting S4 for flying training, once it has been certified to fly by the Light Aircraft Association. This is the first time Boeing, The Air League and the ATC Cadets have collaborated to support the development of talented young people and the future of civilian and military aerospace in this country.

Boeing has supported The Air League, a UK charity founded in 1909, with the aim of promoting an interest in aviation among young people through the offer of flying scholarships and bursaries, for a number of years, as part of its corporate citizenship programme. Young people from inner city communities and wounded former Armed Forces personnel have learned to fly through this partnership. More information is available at http://www.boeing.co.uk/boeing-in-the-uk/community/the-air-league.page.

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*Note: the 17 squadrons are: 72 (Omagh), 806 (Larne), 814 (Portadown College), 817 (Lisburn), 825 (Bangor), 833 (Antrim), 1134 (West Belfast), 1136 (South Belfast), 1137 (East Belfast), 1919 (Newtownabbey), 2004 (Ballynahinch), 2062 (Carrickfergus), 2178 (Hollywood), 2241 (Regent House School), 2349 (Ballymena), 2350 (Coleraine), 2390 (Belfast Royal Academy).