Roy Donelson, Director of Programme Delivery and Mission Assurance delivers the Ballantyne 2016 keynote talk
The Ballantyne, the Society’s annual event for secondary pupils aged 14-18 years, is named after Dr Archie Ballantyne, Secretary of the RAeS from 1951-1973, whose key achievements included overseeing the lecture theatre extension in 1966, the Society’s 100th year. Ballantyne was particularly keen interested in young people’s development so it is fitting that nearly 50 years on, the event continues in his name and with this core objective.
The 2016 Ballantyne was supported by Raytheon UK, participating for the third year running, with members of Raytheon’s inspirational team providing inspirational talks and an insight into the Raytheon Quadcopter Challenge, a STEM challenge perfectly matched to the audience of over 160 guests.
Roy Donelson, Raytheon’s Director of Programme Delivery and Mission Assurance, delivered the keynote talk with an engaging insight into his career, joining Raytheon in 1999 as a Systems Engineer - following a career in the US military - then becoming Director of Tomahawk Missile Programmes at Raytheon Missile Systems before moving to Raytheon UK with his family. Roy highlighted the technology which is driving Raytheon’s business and passed on careers advice and tips gained through his experiences on leadership development programmes, with some valuable words of advice: “Network, always over-prepare and don’t be afraid to fail.”
It was great to compare Roy’s experiences with those of young engineer Michael Kerr, Quality Engineer at Raytheon’s Glenrothes site, who highlighted his passion for encouraging young people into STEM; Michael a STEM Ambassador working closely with local schools on the Quadcopter Challenge.
Next, with the first flight of the Airlander tantalisingly close, Chris Daniels, Head of Partnerships and Communication, Hybrid Air Vehicles updated the audience on the programme innovations the company is developing in Bedfordshire, creating opportunities for young people including apprenticeships.
Cdr Adam Clink, Chief of Staff, Carrier Strike, Royal Navy, provided an insight into the UK’s new strike capability, the F-35B Lightening II and his own career, which began as a Sea Harrier pilot, subsequently qualifying to become Air Warfare Flight Commander with 899 NAS, instructing student pilots in all aspects of Sea Harrier air-to-air and air-to-ground tactics and weapon delivery. Cdr Clink’s role now includes responsibility for ensuring suitably qualified and experienced personnel to deliver and assure the introduction of the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers and F-35B lightning II, offering a new generation of pilots and engineers fantastic career pathways.
To complete the morning session, Kanchana Gamage, founder of The Aviatrix Project and Captain Marnie Munns, easyJet, spoke about commercial flying opportunities including easyJet’s new Amy Johnson Scholarships programme for female applicants, highlighting the industry’s efforts to improve diversity.
Students trying out the flight simulator challenge
The day also included competitions, with the chance to win a high-spec Quadcopter kit courtesy of Raytheon UK, and a specially curated display by Tony Pilmer from the National Aerospace Library of aeronautical artefacts from the NAL collection, including fabric from the Wright Flyer donated to the Society. In the afternoon, speakers were joined by MoD graduate engineers, Sam Bancroft and Kathryn Law, for a Q&A session to answer the audience’s careers and training questions. The day was chaired by RAeS Education and Skills Committee Chair and Past President Jenny Body.
Jenny Body chairs the Q&A Afternoon session
Our thanks again to all for making the 2016 event such a special occasion, and particularly to Raytheon UK for their continued support, without which the event could not take place.