Over 7000 students aged 11-21 years from over 200 UK schools and universities attended the Farnborough International Airshow on Friday July 13 for Futures Day, a day intended “to inspire young minds towards careers in aerospace, defence, security and space".
Futures Day was first held at the Airshow in 2008 and has more than doubled its attendance each show.
The day was opened by Jem Stansfield, presenter of BBC’s Bang goes the Theory, astronaut Tim Peake, Allan Cook, chairman of SELEX Galileo, and Airbus’ young apprentice of the year Lucinda Dancer.
Speaking to students in the Innovation Zone, Tim Peake said: “We have an incredibly exciting space industry at the moment so grab the opportunities and go for it.”
The innovation zone was the centre of the day’s events. Universities and businesses in the aerospace, defence, security and space industries were on hand with activities designed to involve the students and provide advice on future career opportunities.
Students were able to view a scale replica of a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine made entirely from 152,455 Lego pieces and schools that took part in the Boeing and Royal Aeronautical Society Build a Plane Challenge spoke to students about the light aircraft they had built in 2009.
GKN Aerospace had a number of games and puzzles designed to educate students on aircraft manufacture. This included an activity where students had to build a plane, in the form of a puzzle, as fast as possible. After their first attempt they would be shown a quicker, leaner method and asked to build it once more.
Outside of the innovation zone, 18 mini conferences were provided to students. A conference by GKN Aerospace, called ‘Making things fly’, focused on educating students on the materials used in aircraft production.
Students were shown parts of an A350 and were invited to test which material would be best used in wing production.
Airbus also hosted a conference, entitled ‘Fly into the future’, which was designed to get students thinking about future aviation possibilities. An interactive voting system allowed students to choose their future method of flight based on cost, comfort and travel speed.
Ian Marr, Airbus future projects engineer, then spoke to the students about how they could make their flight method environmentally friendly.
“We want your suggestions and your input. We want you to work for Airbus,” he said. Mr Marr added that the conferences were extremely important in inspiring the next generation of engineers.
Futures Day also hosted the final of the International Aerospace Rocketry competition between three schools from the UK, US and France. French School Lycee Louis Bleriot won the event in which the teams had to design, construct and safely launch a rocket carrying two raw hen’s eggs.
12-year-old Amy Kenrig, of Yately School in Hampshire, visited the Airshow for the first time. Amy said: “I spent over an hour in the innovation zone having a look at all the stands. It has been really interesting to see and learn about the planes. I feel like I can fly.”
Students were also able to explore one of the five trails around the site outside of the Innovation Zone. This included a space trail, spy trail, heritage trail, career trail and aircraft trail.
Graham Chisnall, deputy CEO and managing director Aerospace at ADS, said that Futures Day was his personal highlight of the week.
“Despite our intemperate summer weather, there is no dampening the huge enthusiasm for our high technology high value industries,” he added. “Seven and a half thousand students of all ages have had a great day exploring and learning about the brilliant opportunities that they can look forward to.”