The sound quality of the Bill Boeing Lecture Theatre's AV equipment passes the very loud Soyuz rocket launch video test with flying colours

This year’s Ballantyne - the Royal Aeronautical Society annual careers awareness event for secondary schools - sponsored by Raytheon UK, took place on Friday 1 May 2015 at our beautiful headquarters and was themed around the importance of innovation for the present and future of aerospace and aviation. 

Introduced by outgoing RAeS President, Bill Tyack, the day featured inspirational speakers from across the aerospace and aviation industry covering entry routes, tips for career development, graduate and apprenticeship schemes, the UK's pioneering space industry and flying the Eurofighter:

KATRINA ROCHE, Innovation Champions Network Leader, Raytheon (pictured above) - who gave a passionate keynote speech about the diversity and flexibility of careers in engineering and innovation

MIKE HINGE, Finance Graduate, Raytheon - who talked about graduate training and announced the new Quadcopter Challenge for schools (see below)

JOSHUA GALLAGHER and LUKE JONES, Apprentice engineers, Raytheon - who demonstrated the high quality of apprenticeships in the aerospace industry

RICHARD PARKER, Deputy Design Office Manager, Reaction Engines - the audience were fascinated by Reaction Engines' game-changing technology for space travel 

A Typhoon Flying Instructor gave an amazing insight into fast jet flying and careers in the Royal Air Force

We were also joined for the afternoon Q&A session by even more inspirational people including display pilot Tracey Curtis-Taylor, MoD DESG engineering graduate Anne Walmsley and Dallas Campbell (pictured below with Bill Tyack), TV presenter (including BBC’s Bang Goes the Theory and Stargazing Live), who showed some exclusive and breathtaking footage from science shows he has recently been filming in the US. Visitors also took part in a series of interactive challenges throughout the day, including the Honourable Company of Air Pilots (HCAP) pilot aptitude tests, a Raytheon challenge and the Society’s logical thinking task.

Fantastic networking for young people: Inspirational pilot Tracey Curtis-Taylor with Ballantyne attendee and aeronautical-engineer-in-the-making 

Tune in to the full day's talks


You can download FOR FREE the full day’s events on the Society’s Soundcloud and hear first hand the fantastic advice, personal experiences and tips from the speakers and Q&A Session – and listen out for the sound of a Soyuz rocket taking off – but if you are wearing headphones please ensure you turn the sound down – it’s loud!

Richard Parker (in centre) of Reaction Engines in discussion with Ballantyne attendees 

Our thanks to Raytheon UK  without whom the event could not take place, and also to Reaction Engines, the Royal Air Force and HCAP for their fantastic support as well as Anne Walmsley, Dallas Campbell and Tracey Curtis-Taylor for their contributions. 

Raytheon Quadcopter Challenge – calling schools in Harlow, Glenrothes, Gloucester, Waddington and Broughton

During the event, Mike Hinge announced that following the success of a trial STEM programme in Essex led by their Harlow team, the Quadcopter Challenge is now open to schools located near Raytheon sites around the UK with the aim of creating a national challenge in 2016.

Mike Hinge of Raytheon with a quadcopter design 

The Essex challenge invited teams of 4-6 pupils at secondary schools to build a multirotor remotely-piloted air system which will be put through their paces at a series of challenges at local finals this year such as:

Straight Line Speed Challenge | Heavy Lift (payload) Challenge | Manoeuvrability Challenge | Aerial Photography | Autonomous Challenge

Throughout the process, STEM Ambassadors, drawn from Raytheon, at have been mentoring the pupils providing their knowledge of aerodynamics, autonomy, physics, microelectromechanical systems, control systems and battery technology. 

This is a fantastic real-life STEM activity offering a wealth of technical skills and soft skills development and fantastic prizes for schools and pupils. 

If you are in a school or college located near one of the Raytheon sites in Harlow, Glenrothes, Gloucester, Waddington or Broughton and are interested in the 2016 challenge, please email for more info.

Ballantyne 2015 event sponsor:

RAeS Careers
20 May 2015