RAF ‘Fun with Flight’ Roadshow

On Monday 27th November, students in Years 8 and 9 were given the opportunity to explore the science behind flight with an exciting and interactive roadshow delivered by members of the RAF.

Using a combination of videos and live demonstrations, a team of presenters explained the physics involved in flying; the varied careers available in the RAF and the importance of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) in the armed forces.

The four forces of flight – lift, weight, drag and thrust – were demonstrated by using an industrial fan to levitate a beach ball in order to simulate the behaviour of planes in flight.

Students were told of the increasing use of virtual reality to augment visual perception during pilot training schemes. Willing volunteers were given the opportunity to experience virtual reality by wearing a special headset which took them on a thrilling ride on a virtual rollercoaster.

Drone technology was also demonstrated with a flight in front of the students. Real time footage, broadcast direct from a camera attached to the drone, was displayed on the big screen – allowing the students to see themselves and interact with the device. The presenters spoke about the use of drones in the armed forces and the continuing advancement of the technology, allowing for facial recognition and more sophisticated control. This was highlighted by a video clip showing a number of drones being used to play the James Bond theme tune on a variety of instruments as part of an ensemble performance.

However, the highlight of the roadshow was undoubtedly the live demonstration of a small-yet-powerful replica of a Rolls Royce jet engine. Despite its small size in comparison to its full-size counterpart, the noise generated was quite deafening and offered the students a clue as to how loud a regular jet engine would be. 

Towards the end of the session, the students were lucky to benefit from a question and answer session led by an RAF PT (Physical Training) officer who fielded a range of questions about life in the RAF. 

Senior Science Technician Viki Foster commented: ‘The RAF Fun with Flight roadshow was incredible. The demonstrations were engaging, fun and very educational. I really hope that our students are beginning to see the benefits of having a STEM background and the doors and experiences that this can open. Our students, as always, were engaged and a credit to themselves and to the school.’

ABOVE: The four forces of flight are demonstrated with a beach ball and an industrial fan.

Student volunteers took a ride on a virtual reality rollercoaster.