About Us

Flying Start Challenge is a STEM competition in the South West of England run and sponsored by eight aerospace engineering companies: Airbus, Atkins, BAE Systems, GKN Aerospace, Leonardo, MBDA, Rolls-Royce and Safran Landing Systems. It is held for students at local schools to help encourage involvement in STEM activities and increase awareness of the excellent careers available in science, technology and engineering.

The challenge is designed to allow students to develop their knowledge of flight, and gain some hands on engineering experience. Whilst doing this, we aim to provide an opportunity for pupils to build on their soft skills such as teamwork, communication and problem solving, whilst also having fun.

The aim is for teams composed of four students to design, build and test a model glider that they will present at their regional Fly-Off, where each team will have the chance to fly their glider against schools from the same region. Teams will be judged on various criteria such as the distance flown, innovative design, use of recycled materials, and more which will be detailed in a poster presentation. Winning teams from each regional Fly-Off get the chance to compete at the Grand Final held at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovil, a day full of fun quizzes and engineering-related activities!

Representatives from one of the local ‘host’ aerospace companies will provide support to the students throughout the whole duration of the challenge, covering aspects of design, manufacture and test as well as practical help and advice in the building phase.