Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions will help you understand more about the Flying Start Challenge. If you require further information, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the FSC Committee: 

For the Gloucestershire area, email us at: flyingstartchallenge.glo.sls@safrangroup.com

For the Bristol area, email us at: FTN.FlyingStartChallenge@mbda.co.uk

For the Yeovil area, email us at: flyingstartchallenge.mbx.aw@leonardocompany.com

For the Students

How can my school take part in the Flying Start Challenge?

Schools can take part in the Flying Start Challenge by directly e-mailing the FSC committee contact for their region and expressing interest. If you would like your school to take part, then your best option is to show this website to your Design & Technology teacher. Currently the Flying Start Challenge runs yearly from October to March. Planning begins over the summer months, and the deadline for registration is typically in September.  The challenge is for Year 7 to Year 9 pupils from schools in the South West of England.

How to participate?

Participation is free and subscription to the challenge has to be sent by a school teacher via email to the FSC Committee representative for your region before September 30th each year. Due to limited capacity, allocation of places will be on a first come first serve basis, so the sooner you express your interest the better!

For the Gloucestershire area, email us at: flyingstartchallenge.glo.sls@safrangroup.com

For the Bristol area, email us at: FTN.FlyingStartChallenge@mbda.co.uk

For the Yeovil area, email us at: flyingstartchallenge.mbx.aw@leonardocompany.com

 

Are there any rules for the competition?

Yes, there are certain rules regarding design, materials, flight and support when competing in the challenge. Competition rules may be ammended/updated each year and will be made available to you soon after your registration is confirmed. Alternatively, please feel free to enquire about specific rules when expressing your interest in the challenge.

Rules for participation in the challenge-:

  • Students must be in Years 7 – 9
  • Teams can have a maximum of 4 students
  • Schools must be based in the South West of England
Do I work on my own or in groups?
You will need to work in groups of up to, but no more than, 4 students to compete in this challenge. In most cases your teacher will be involved in group selection.
How far do the gliders normally fly?

In past years, the glider flights have reached over 25 metres. However, the winning distance changes every year and records are made to be broken.

What support will I get?

Engineers from an aerospace company in your region will visit your school during the challenge. During these visits, they will explain the Flying Start Challenge further, teaching you all about the science behind how planes fly while providing hints and tips for your glider design and manufacture.

How do I win a prize?
Student prizes vary every year. If a team wins an activity, quiz or the fly offs, each student will receive a prize each.
Student Prizes (2017/18)
  • 1st Prize – Quadcopter
  • 2nd Prize – Hydraulic Robot Arm
  • 3rd Prize – Rocket Factory Kit
  • Fly-off Winners – Experience flight in real glider
  • Overall Activities Winners – Bridges and Buildings set
  • Best Poster Prize – VR Headset
  • Wing Bend Activity Winner – A350 Model

For the Teachers

Who can participate?

The challenge is open to students of Years 7-9, expected to work in teams of up to 4, from any school in the South West of England.

How to participate?

Participation is free and subscription to the challenge has to be sent by a school teacher via email to the FSC Committee representative for your region before September 30th each year. Due to limited capacity, allocation of places will be on a first come first serve basis, so the sooner you express your interest the better!

For the Gloucestershire area, email us at: flyingstartchallenge.glo.sls@safrangroup.com

For the Bristol area, email us at: FTN.FlyingStartChallenge@mbda.co.uk

For the Yeovil area, email us at: flyingstartchallenge.mbx.aw@leonardocompany.com

When does the competition take place?

The glider design and build should take place over eight to twelve weeks from October to February every year, with work on the challenge usually taking place during Design & Technology lessons and/or after school clubs.

School lessons delivered by the aerospace companies can span 6-8 weeks of hourly sessions, or a full one day session depending on your preference. The level of support required and dates for school visits will be arranged and agreed between company representatives and the school teacher. (N.B. One day sessions have typically been found to be more enagaging and efficient for students, and is our recommended option.)

Each school competes in their respective regional Fly-Off in February where the winning teams from each will then go on to compete at the Grand Final in March. The Grand Final is usually held at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovil.

What are the benefits of the Flying Start Challenge?

There are many benefits to entering your school in the  Flying Start Challenge:

  • The students are taught about the fundamentals of flight and given a basic introduction to aerospace engineering. Lessons include detail about the forces that work on an aeroplane (lift, drag, weight and thrust), design, material properties, manufacture, and testing. These are an excellent supplement to science and technology lessons.
  • Designing and building a glider to compete is both informative and exciting. Students have the opportunity to gain their first taste of practical engineering experience and will also develop important personal skills (teamwork, communication, problem solving, leadership).
  • Students gain a stronger understanding of STEM subjects and careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
  • Winning teams earn their school STEM vouchers (upto £1000) that can go towards new equipment and STEM activities.
  • Teams who make it to the Grand Final win a Bronze Award for the Industrial Cadets (in parternship with EDT).
School prizes
1st Prize – £1000 STEM activities voucher
2nd Prize – £500 STEM activities voucher
3rd Prize – £250 STEM activities voucher
Will any material be provided?

The Flying Start Challenge will provide a small amount of balsa wood and hardwood to each school at the start of the challenge, to kickstart the glider build process. However, more material will be needed throughout the challenge, and there is a push in using ‘recycled’ materials as part of creating more innovative designs. 

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us