After two months of intensive research and development, a group of year nine pupils from Sandown Bay Academy have witnessed the first flight of their working prototype radio-controlled hovercraft with the help of Red Funnel staff.
Red Funnel chief officers Matthew Parker and Jodi Le Breton have worked with the school for the past two years as STEMNET ambassadors, using their own professional skills, experience and confidence to encourage young people to enjoy STEM subjects.
Their project for the past two months was the 2015 STEMNET Hovercraft Challenge which asked school age children to research, design and build a working radio controlled hovercraft. Jodi and Matthew were able to use their technical knowledge of Red Funnel vessels, past and present to give advice about the aerodynamics and skirt system of the hovercraft.
“It’s been really fulfilling working with the young people on the project. This challenge in particular has been interesting because I can use my working knowledge of boats and some of my personal experience with remote controlled vehicles. The team has been great.”
Matthew and Jodi visit the school one every two weeks to inspire the children to take a more active role in science, technology, engineering and maths and to oversee the development of the hovercraft. The boys received guidance as to what materials they are able to use to build the craft but have built it from scratch, even using a 3D printer and Computer Aided Design to create a casing for the motor.
The ultimate test for the hovercraft will be in June, when the group of 10 boys will race their hovercraft against other schools on the Isle of Wight.