RAF 100 inspire – Race for the Line

As part of RAF100 STEM activities, RAF Waddington STEM Ambassadors, in conjunction with The Learning Partnership, have recently held the Regional Final for ‘Race for the Line’ – an event designed to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists by engaging them in some rocket powered racing.

Since February, STEM Ambassadors, or ‘Rocketeers’ as they are known, have facilitated School Race Days at 8 local Secondary Schools. The competition is run nationally with over 18,000 teams competing. Year 7 Students from across our region have been challenged to design, build and race a model rocket car which can cover (intact!) a 20 metre distance in the fastest possible time. Waddington School Engagement Team have been mentoring their teams for several weeks in an advisory role, helping them to understand the requirements of the task in order to then leave the students to problem solve themselves.

All the rockets are identically powered by rocket motors, and data, such as speed travelled, is collected using a MicroBit, telemetry unit, fitted inside the car. Teams can then design and make their own axles and wheels and introduce modifications such as fins, fairings and spoilers to improve the car’s performance. The key is mass! The lighter the car, the faster it goes. There were some pretty impressive speeds recorded on the day. The winning team for the Lincolnshire region, with a winning time of 46.8 milliseconds and travelling at a top speed of 47.8 mph was the Beacon Academy (Team “The Americans”) from Cleethorpes. This team will now go on to the national finals which will be held at RAF Wittering in June.

Flying Officer Andy Fox, OC School Engagement Team and RAF100 STEM Project Officer said: This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to really explore STEM subjects in a fun way through collaboration and creative thinking – the competition has been fierce! I’ve been impressed by the ingenuity and resourcefulness that I’ve seen today and it’s great to see so many young people, girls and boys alike, so engaged in what they’re doing. Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without the professionalism, dedication and enthusiasm of Waddington STEM Ambassadors who deliver activities, around busy core roles, to provide a rich STEM engagement programme throughout the year. Special mention must go to Fight Sergeant Tony Horsenail, and Sergeant Nick Shipley, who worked tirelessly in the background to bring this whole event together.

We are always looking for enthusiastic and engaging personnel to become STEM Ambassadors, so if you feel inspired, please contact Flying Officer Fox to find out how you can get involved.