Wendover Junior School visited RAF Halton this week to take part in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM, Cool Aeronautics day of activities.
These events are now a big part of Station routine with museum volunteers and STEM ambassadors from Halton and other Stations taking groups through activities designed to stimulate their love of all things scientific and the principles of flight. They made electronic flying discs, a model rocket, went on the flight simulators, learned the basics of Morse Code and visited the Halton Aero Club where they got to see and sit inside a light aircraft.
Staff at RAF Halton are determined to put 1000 children through the experience to coincide with RAF100 and furthermore will be offering 20 minute taster flights on their ‘Young Eagles Day’ in the coming week.
The instructional staff said they gained a lot from the experience of being a STEM Ambassador as it gives them a different look at the way they teach or instruct. Sgt Darren Culley from Logistics and Supply Training Squadron, said: “I absolutely love these events, it makes me a better instructor and if the children take away just one thing then I have done my job.” He recalled a child saying she wanted to be like ‘someone’ and when he asked her who, she said ‘you’, which made him feel as if he had succeeded in being a role model to her.
All in all the day was a complete success with teachers praising the staff here for their patience and professionalism.
Ryanair Pilot, Jonathon Paris, lectured each group, taking them through a pilots eye view from the cockpit and the different lights and signs on a runway. The children were most animated when he explained the use of a windsock on a RAF Station or civilian airport and how an aircraft is brought to a stand-still with the aid of a bungee type band. Jonathon, 31 years of age, learned to fly at a commercial school in Bournemouth and still flies European routes but in his spare time he works with the ATC as a ground instructor.
Chelsey Rose, Year 6 Leader at Wendover Junior School, emailed organiser, Bill McGrath, saying:
“This is just a quick e-mail to say a big thank you for our STEM day on Thursday. The children absolutely loved it and many commented that it was the best trip they had ever been on! We have also had positive comments from parents as they children did not stop talking about it once they got home, so a big thank you from me for your support in allowing it to happen. I am sure the Year 6 team would be keen to take the current year 5s in the Autumn term if you have any dates left.”