On 18 May 2017, the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) and Boeing held a celebratory event at Coventry Airport to mark the first flight public of G-EGCA, the fourth aircraft built by pupils from Ernesford Grange Community Academy as part of the of the Schools Build-a-Plane (SBAP) Challenge.
Some of the pupils, staff and volunteers involved in the G-EGCA build
The day started with speeches at the DC-6 diner. Barry Hobson, President of the Coventry Branch welcomed guests to the ceremony. Lee Balthazar, the Past President of the RAeS spoke about the importance of the project and how it has inspired thousands of pupils to pursue careers in STEM. Deputy Head teacher Helen Nicholls (Helen) explained how she was introduced to the project by Ron Carr from the Coventry Branch who thought Helen would be up to the challenge of building an aircraft. Helen agreed on the spot but did not know what she was taking on but thought it would be fun. The project, however would not be the success it is, explained Helen, without Peter Kobrin (Peter). Peter described the lengthy process it has taken to get to this stage. Please see below:
Staff: 7 volunteers and 4 staff members.
Number of hours : 1650 team hours
Students : 33 students.
Number of trips: 21 including the NEC, RAF Fairford, Houses of Parliament and Farnborough
Flight simulator: 761 students have flown in the simulator.
Holiday workshops: 32days
Weekly Build workshops: 122
Student and staff flights in other light aircraft: 15
Peter giving his speech in the DC-6 Diner
Peter went onto praise the volunteers and the pupils for their hard work and dedication. The speeches were rounded off with a presentation of an aircraft wine holder by the school to Peter, along with wire model planes given to pupils and volunteers on behalf of the RAeS.
Everyone then tucked into lunch at the DC-6 Diner and had the opportunity to reminisce about the journey taken in building G-EGCA. After lunch, pilot Steve Moody carried out G-EGCA’s first public flight but also providing student flight experience to those pupils who had helped to build the aircraft. Please see our photo gallery below that will show how the day unfolded. We at the RAeS would like to thank and congratulate the pupils, teachers, volunteers and the local Coventry Branch involved in this tremendous achievement.