It’s not often that School’s Build-a-Plane manages to reach (and hopefully inspire!) thousands of people – so when the opportunity arose for the SBAP team to exhibit at the Farnborough International Air Show in 2016, we jumped at the chance!

Monday 11th July through to Thursday 14th July marked the trade days for Farnborough, with the majority of visitors being those on business. Nevertheless, the Schools Build a Plane stand remained consistently active, with a steady stream of people who were not only incredibly inspired by the project, but also people who were quite frankly shocked, at the opportunities we are now lucky enough to be able to give to the future generation.

Fig 1 – The SBAP Stand on Tuesday 12th July – S Bancroft

There were many activities running throughout the time School’s Build-a-Plane was exhibiting at Farnborough, with the new flight simulators proving a popular addition to the stand, helping to draw in members of the public. The main aim of these were not only let people have abit of fun (for both the public and staff members!), but to talk about how, in some of the SBAP schools, they are using flight simulators to teach students the basics of flight. Not only do they teach the budding children this, but they also plan navigation exercises, and then fly them on the simulator themselves – future pilots in the making!

Fig 2 – Robin Saaristo, of the Young Persons Committee – potential career as a flying instructor? – R Azouzi

Things really started to heat up (both SBAP footfall, and weather-wise!) on Future’s Day at Farnborough – this was held on Friday 15th July, with over 5000 children attending. We were lucky enough to be joined on Futures Day by school children from North East Wolverhampton Academy, who’s aircraft we also had on static display within the stand.

Fig 3 – Students and Volunteers helping with the build of G-NEWA – R Azouzi

Futures Day also marked a special day for another school at Farnborough – not only did Schools Build-a-Plane have a static display of G-NEWA, but Ercall Wood School’s aircraft (G-GWFT) flew a superb flying display. One of the pilots of G-GWFT stated that “to be able to fly at Farnborough International Airshow, for me, it’s like an amateur footballer playing with the professionals, in the finals of the World Cup at Wembley.”

Fig 4 – G-GWFT performing its Flying Display – M Lees

Fig 5 – G-GWFT landing after its Flying Display – M Lees

The public weekend brought even more sun, with so many inspirational quotes coming from people who saw the stand two years prior. There were many teachers who spoke to young person’s volunteers, stating that they had now reached out to the local community, and are starting a project similar to this in their school. So many children played with the paper planes, the flight simulators, and got the chance to sit in G-NEWA, that made the entire show worth it. It was a fantastic place to be for a week in 2016, and I can’t wait to see what surprises Schools Build-a-Plane has planned for air show season 2017.

22 July 2016