• Boeing, Coventry school and Royal Aeronautical Society celebrate first flight of student-built plane

    • Ernesford Grange Community Academy, Coventry, is the fourth school to build and fly their light aircraft with Boeing and the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS)
    • Project aims to inspire young people into STEM careers

    LONDON,  May 18, 2017 - Boeing [NYSE: BA] and the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) today celebrate a major milestone in the Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge. Ernesford Grange Community Academy in Coventry has successfully completed the first public flight of their school-built light aircraft, named G-EGCA, at Coventry Airport. The plane was assembled by 33 students and 11 volunteers together with school staff.

    The project, created to inspire young people into science, technology engineering and maths (STEM) careers, has now launched four aircraft from school workshops into the skies. The students from years 9 to 11 (aged 14 to 16) have been building the RANS Coyote II light aeroplane -- with guidance from teacher Peter Kobrin and assistance from volunteers – since 2012.

    Ernesford Grange Community Academy is one of six schools awarded kits and their plane, G-EGCA, is the fourth to be certified to fly by the Light Aircraft Association (LAA). Whilst the students were awaiting the delivery of their kit they converted a PA-28 aircraft into a flight simulator to train on. Once all students have flown as passengers in the plane they built, G-EGCA will be sold to a private buyer, with the funds returned to the programme for reinvestment.

    James Aitken, Challenge participant and pupil of Ernesford Grange Community Academy, said: “The best part of the project was the team. Most people I tell can't believe I've actually helped build a real aircraft, and now it has flown!”

    The Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge has engaged more than 3,500 young people since the project launched in 2008. It is designed to inspire young people across the UK in the areas of STEM through hands-on, extra-curricular activity. Two aircraft became the first school-built aeroplanes to fly at an international air show when they participated in the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow flying display on Futures Day.

    “Boeing is committed to sustaining the highly-qualified pipeline of talent in the UK aerospace industry,” said Sir Michael Arthur, president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing UK and Ireland. “Our industry must work hard to inspire young people to take an interest in science, technology and aviation through engaging in projects like the Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge. Congratulations to the students and teachers at Ernesford Grange Community Academy on their fantastic achievements.”

    “It is vital that we develop and nurture STEM knowledge and skills from an early age if the UK is to maintain its technological and competitive advantage in the global aerospace sector,” said Simon Luxmoore, chief executive of the Royal Aeronautical Society. “Providing young people with first-hand experience of what a career in aviation involves, through fun and exciting initiatives like the Schools Build-a-Place Challenge, is one way of achieving this important goal.”

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    Notes to editors

    Following a national competition, six schools across the UK were awarded a RANS Coyote II light aircraft kit: Yateley School (Hampshire), Marling School (Gloucestershire), Bridge Learning Campus (Bristol), Ercall Wood Technology College (Shropshire), North East Wolverhampton Academy (West Midlands) and Ernesford Grange Community Academy (Coventry). Each school team project-managed the plane build under guidance from teachers and volunteers from the LAA, which certified the aircraft to fly. The objective of the challenge is to demonstrate the effectiveness of a practical, curriculum-enhancing project in developing 21st century skills and engaging young people with sciences, engineering and aviation.

    About Boeing

    Boeing employs more than 2,000 people across the UK at numerous sites, from Glasgow to Gosport, and the company is experiencing solid organic growth.  In 2013 Boeing celebrated 75 years of partnership with the United Kingdom, the Armed Forces, British manufacturing and the air transport industry.  Today the UK remains a critically important market, supplier base and a source of some of the world’s most inventive technology partners.  Boeing’s expenditure with the UK aerospace industry in 2015 was £1.8 billion ($2.65 billion) and the company supports 12,700 jobs in the tier one UK supply chain, in the process enhancing skills, facilitating exports and generating intellectual property.  For more information visit www.boeing.co.uk or follow us on Twitter @BoeingUK.

    About The Royal Aeronautical Society

    The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) is the world’s only professional body dedicated to the entire aerospace community. The Society promotes the highest professional standards in all aerospace disciplines; provides specialist information; acts as a central forum for the exchange of ideas; and plays a leading role in influencing opinion on aerospace matters. Visit www.aerosociety.com for more information.

    About Ernesford Grange Community Academy

    Ernesford Grange Community Academy was opened in 1972 as one of the first suburban Community Colleges in the country. The school has developed a well-earned reputation for being a very caring and supportive school and is very much part of the local community and the City of Coventry.