Frequently Asked Questions

Hopefully the following questions will help you understand more about the Flying Start Challenge. If you require further information, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the FSC Committee: info@flyingstartchallenge.co.uk

For the Students

How can I/my School take part in the Flying Start Challenge?

Schools can take part in the flying start challenge by completing the application form. If you wish to try to get your school to take part then your best option is to show this website to your technology teacher. Currently the Flying Start Challenge runs yearly from October to March and is open to Year 7 to Year 9 pupils from schools in the South West of England.

How to participate?

Participation is free and the subscription to the challenge has to be sent by a school teacher via email to info@flyingstartchallenge.co.uk before 30 September each year. Due to limited capacity, allocation of places will be on a first come first serve basis.

Are there any rules for the competition?

Yes there is a set of rules for the gliders, including things such as materials, cost, etc. You can also download the student guidelines document.

Do I work on my own or in groups?

You will need to work in groups of up to, but no more than, 4 students to compete in this challenge. In most cases your teacher will be involved in group selection.

How far do the gliders normally fly?

In past years, some of the gliders have reached as far as 16 metres. However, this changes every year.

What support will I get?

An aerospace company will visit your school during the challenge. In this time they will explain the Flying Start Challenge further, give lessons on how aeroplanes fly, and provide hints and tips into glider design and manufacture.

How do I win a prize?

Student prizes vary every year. If a team wins an activity, quiz or the fly offs, each student will receive a prize each.

Student Prizes (2016/17)
  • 1st Prize – Quadcopter
  • 2nd Prize – IC Engine
  • 3rd Prize – Perpetual Rollercoaster
  • Fly-off Winners – Experience flight in real glider
  • Overall Activities Winners – Hydraulic robot arm
  • Zip-Line Activity Winners – Tin can cable car
  • Autorotation Activity Winners – Airfix Model

For the Teachers

Who can participate?

The Challenge is open to students of Years 7-9, expected to work in teams of up to 4, from any school in the South West of England.

How to participate?

Participation is free and the subscription to the challenge has to be sent by a school teacher via email to info@flyingstartchallenge.co.uk before 30 September each year. Due to limited capacity, allocation of places will be on a first come first serve basis.

When does the competition take place?

The glider design and build should take place over eight to twelve weeks from October to February every year, with the work on the Challenge usually taking place during design/technology lessons and/or after school clubs. The class of the winning glider from each regional fly-off will then take part in the Grand Final at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton in March. Representatives from host aerospace companies will be introduced to the schools in the early autumn, when the level of support required and dates for school visits will be decided liaising with the responsible teacher.

What are the benefits of the Flying Start Challenge?

There are a number of benefits of entering your school into this challenge. The students will be given brief lessons about the forces that work on an aeroplane (lift, drag, weight and thrust) and basic material properties, which can support science lessons. The practical side of the challenge of designing and building a glider to compete with is exciting and interesting, and will give the students a better interest in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). If a team from your school wins, then the school will receive vouchers that can go towards STEM activities. The students who complete all lessons and make it to the grand final are also awarded a bronze award as Industrial Cadets.

School prizes

1st Prize – £1000 STEM activities voucher
2nd Prize – £500 STEM activities voucher
3rd Prize – £250 STEM activities voucher

Will any material be provided?

The Flying Start Challenge will provide a small amount of balsa wood and hardwood to each school at the start of the challenge, to get each school off to a start. However, more material will be needed throughout the challenge to create the gliders

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us