As the summer term draws to a close, we were delighted to end the academic year with four more Cool Aeronautics events, three at NEW venues and another at our London HQ following high school demand.

Cool Aeronautics @ University of Bristol, 23 June

23 June saw the first Cool Aeronautics event to take place at the University of Bristol, hosted by Professor Jonathan Cooper BSc PhD FRAeS, Chair of RAeS Professional Standards Board and RAEng Airbus Sir George White Professor of Aerospace Engineering.

Children from two primary schools in the South West attended the event which had fantastic local support. The children were treated to introductions to aerospace engineering and flying, and a chance to hear inspirations stories from young engineers from University of the West of England, Safran Landing Systems, University of Bristol, Stirling Dynamics and Leonardo Helicopters.

Carren Holden of Cool Aeronautics 2016 programme sponsor Airbus was on hand throughout the day to witness the fun and had the unenviable task of judging the children’s futuristic aircraft designs.

The children were also treated to a tour of the faculty’s engineering facilities including the Dynamics Laboratory to learn about sound and vibration testing, the amazing flight simulators and got the chance to make paper planes for competition to end the day.

In addition, children had been invited to bring along their own aircraft designs of the future with some outstanding ideas presented. Carren presented the prize to the winning pupil.

The day ended with (perhaps for the first time in its history!) the grand lecture theatre becoming a paper plane competition zone, also offering the chance to win an Airbus goody bag including their famous teddy bear.

Cool Aeronautics @ RAeS HQ, 27 June

We were delighted to squeeze in an extra event on 27 June to accommodate a school which we had to turn away for the earlier June event. We also welcomed back space education expert Jo Fox for another Team Tim session which had the children mesmerised and taking part in a series of experiments to test their fitness, numerical, electrical engineering skills and learn the important of turning urine into drinking water in space – euuggh!

Following paper plane making fun and welcome home card making for Major Tim Peake, it was time for another Google Hangout with Virgin Galactic, direct from the USA. The children prepared lots of fantastic questions for the team and learnt that space travel is becoming an ever-closer reality for everyday people.

Cool Aeronautics @ Jet Age Museum, 1 July

It was off to Gloucester for one of the biggest Cool Aeronautics events of the year, and the first event by the RAeS Cheltenham & Gloucester Branch who invited 82 pupils from six local primary schools to take part, supported by 40 local volunteers.

In addition to the wonderful support of the museum and its volunteers, the event attracted amazing local support including:The Butterfly Project, Dowty Propellers, GE Aviation Systems, Gloucestershire Airport, the Jet Age Museum, Men in Sheds, MOOG, Renishaw, SAFRAN and Triumph.

During the day each pupil participated in 6 separate aviation related workshops, including the Safran Landing Gear timed challenge, GE Aviation’s simulation activities, paper plane building and the Jet Age Musuem navigation workshop. They also had a chance to tour the wonderful museum and meet local pilots with three aircraft joining the event including two light aircraft and a helicopter piloted by a pilot aged just 21. One of the teacher’s told the organiser “ It’s been the best school visit we have ever had” and schools left the event on a high as the two aircraft and helicopters departed, with lots of young people thinking about careers in aviation.

However, things did not stop there, and on Saturday 2 July the activities were opened up for a public day with additional activities including:

Talks from RAeS Past President Air Commodore Bill Tyack, Rob Loveday, Chris Radford and Dr Robin Davies. | Four separate aviation themed talks ranging from the history of the RAeS to the future of space flight each attended by on average 35 visitors. | Visitors entertained during the lunch break by the Cathedral Barber Shop Choir. | Best carrier deck landing team challenge (congratulations to Triumph!) | £1,100 raised for charity.

485 visitors enjoyed the event including 138 children raising public awareness of the contribution that aviation makes in the county raised and very happy visitors!

Cool Aeronautics @ Silk Museum Derby, 8 July 

Finally this term it was time to travel to Derby for its first Cool Aeronautics event at the Silk Museum, organised by the RAeS Derby Branch with support from Rolls-Royce graduates, interns and apprentices.

One local school attended and were treated to a wonderful day of activities including:

Rocket workshop |  Paper plane workshop | Cool Aeronautics Gliding Challenge, adapted from the Flying Start Challenge by the graduates

Talks from IET Woman Engineer of the Year and Rolls-Royce on career pathways and how planes fly | A tour of the museum including the iconic RB211 engine which began the Rolls-Royce story

Designed specifically to help young people learn about the art of designing, making and engineering, the museum was the perfect location with staff perfectly placed to show the children around. The Rolls-Royce team came up with a fantastic series of workshops which had the children both excited and learning and at the end of the day, the specially made trophies by the museum were much deserved.

A huge thank-you

The following individuals have really helped to make these recent events special and without whom the events could not have happened. We hope to work again in the future for many more to come:

University of Bristol

Jonathan Cooper and Sarah Hassall of the University of Bristol


Gary Murden, Dowty Propellers; Peter Hall, Safran Landing Systems and Trevor Davies, Jet Age Museum


Chris Clarke, Rolls-Royce and Bill of Derby Museums


Ron Rosano, Virgin Galactic future astronaut

Cool Aeronautics this Autumn

We are still working hard to reach our 150 primary school target and are looking forward to events in even more new locations including Dubai, Doncaster Airport, Preston’s College, Brighton City Airport, Yeovilton Air Museum and Prestwick as well as returning to previous venues.

However, we still need more venues and more events to reach this target, if you would like to host an event, large or small, please contact us and we will be happy to help you.

You may be an RAeS Branch, a museum, manufacturer, airport, airline university or college or SME – it’s much easier than you think and the rewards of working with primary school children are second to none. There are no geographical limits – so don’t delay, get in touch today!

To find out more please contact

Jonathan Axford | | +44 (0)20 7670 4326

Airbus Group

Finally, a very big thanks once again to the 2016 Cool Aeronautics programme sponsor Airbus Group helping more and more children to earn their Cool Aeronautics wings this year!

RAeS Careers
22 July 2016