The Royal Aeronautical Society hosted its first movie premiere for its new Schools Build a Plane Challenge documentary in partnership with the Boeing Company at the Society’s beautiful headquarters in No.4 Hamilton Place.

The Bill Boeing Lecture Theatre was transformed into a cinema and the event started with RAeS President Bill Tyack giving a warm welcome and a brief history of aviation from the first 'Balloonauts'. This was then followed by an enthusiastic speech given by Sir Michael Arthur, the new President of Boeing UK highlighting the Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge's successes and positive impact on young people and schools. The movie was then shown on the big screen while all the guests enjoyed some crunchy popcorn. After the film, guests from the aerospace community, SBAP volunteers, students and teachers and the filmmaker, Gautam Lewis, enjoyed talking to some of the students about their experiences from the project.

RAeS President Bill Tyack opens the première

The film was a real inspiration for everyone, providing insights of excited students expressing the benefits of their once-a-lifetime experience on the project, along with feedback from passionate volunteers and teachers from the schools. Culminating in footage from the Farnborough Air Show 2014 revealed one of the project’s most exciting achievements yet: a successful dual display of two schools-built Microlight aircraft – G-YTLY and G-SBAP at  Futures Day, the first of its kind at the air show. 

The film is based around  a 35-minute documentary which has been produced for a wide audience, showing what young people are capable of, from building and testing the aircraft to aviation standards, and then being given the opportunity to take a flight in a aircraft that they built. The project has had a lasting legacy on the schools which have taken part including lead schools Yateley School, Bridge Learning Campus, Marling School, Ercall Wood Technology College, Ernesford Grange Community Academy and North East Wolverhampton Academy. It is hoped that this film will allow the spirit of the project to continue into the future, and inspire teachers and pupils in other schools to take on challenging STEM projects.

Popcorn not enough for the hard-working SBAP pupils!

The programme, which is a partnership between the Royal Aeronautical Society and Boeing, and supported by the Light Aircraft Association, consists of pupils building a real light aircraft from a kit in schools around the country  with help from  local RAeS volunteers  many of whom vast experience of the aviation industry. Students can develop their interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through real hands-on aerospace engineering experience. The schools are at various stages of their builds from early fuselage assembly while there are two fully airworthy and operational aircraft. The programme has also received generous support from the Ministry of Defence who have provided secondees from their graduate Defence Equipment and Support programme, many of whom were reunited at the première. 

Boeing UK President, Sir Michael Arthur

The excitement generated by the film felt like a real movie premiere: special guests arriving from across the aerospace community, a huge round of applause and the flashing bulbs of photographers shooting the event’s real stars – the SBAP pupils …a very ‘Hollywood’ experience!

View the film

To see the film for yourself visit the Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge Youtube channel:

Tim Robinson reports live from Twitter 

It’s here! Grab popcorn & watch epic RAeS/Boeing Schools Build-A-Plane documentary #STEM
SBAP flies at Farnborough 2014-the 1st time an aircraft build by kids has taken flow in this huge air show
Some real inspiration for students in this film. #SBAP

RAeS Careers
22 October 2014