de Havilland Tiger Moth seen at the Moth Club Charity Flying Weekend held at Shuttleworth (Old Warden) Aerodrome on 10th / 11th June 2017 - photograph by Debbie Land

SVAS helps School children take flight

The SVAS was approached by the Moth Club earlier in the year with a view to helping them select candidates for Teague Challenge flights – these are flights at their Charity Flying Day that are sponsored by Moth Club members with a view to inspiring the next generation of pilots. Armed with fifty free flights, our Student Section Coordinator Matthew Studdert-Kennedy and Collection pilot Scott Butler set about designing a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Outreach programme around the history of the DH Moth series.

Matthew then had the unenviable task of contacting all the schools and arranging convenient dates and times when he and SVAS ground crew stalwart and de Havilland Educational Trust Chair Ian Oliver could go in to the schools. Over the next six weeks Ian and Matthew (with assistance from Scott and Moth Club Chairman Stuart McKay) presented to over a thousand children, who then went on to take part in competitions set by their schools to determine who would win the flights. Tasks varied from designing a homebuilt glider from recycled materials to giving a powerpoint presentation to fellow students on Bernoulli’s Principle and ensured it was those who really engaged with the task who went on to win their flights.

One of the lucky winners gets ready for their flight in a Tiger Moth - photograph by Debbie Land
One of the lucky winners gets ready for their flight in a Tiger Moth – photograph by Debbie Land

Extremely challenging conditions for the Charity Flying weekend meant it was never going to be possible to fly everyone, but a sterling effort from the Moth Club saw 80% of the pupils who attended taken up for a flight.

The event is best summed up by one young prize winner who went on to write “I was completely buzzing for ages afterwards, because I’d never had an experience like this before, and I’d conquered my fear of heights, and my fear of the unknown, and couldn’t stop telling everyone how much I loved it and wanted to do it again.” We look forward to supporting the event again next year.

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