SMAE Student Mentors Appointed to Build a Plane Northern Ireland Project
Eight students from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (SMAE) have been selected to participate as Student Mentors on the Build a Plane Northern Ireland (BAPNI) Project.
Young people from shared education partnerships across Northern Ireland in Ballynahinch, Dungannon, Magherafelt and the Aquinas Diocesan Grammar School and Wellington College from Belfast, have come together to learn the many skills needed to build an aeroplane, from riveting to wiring to testing to simulating flight.
Under the expert guidance of members of the Ulster Aviation Society (UAS) the young people are building a Sherwood Scout. This is a two seater, high wing monoplane, which has a tubular framework with the wings covered in a specially treated fabric. It is also fitted with all the required electronics such as navigation systems and radios.
Once the aircraft is completed in 2021 many of the young people and Student Mentors will get the opportunity to experience flying and it may be flown at the Farnborough International Airshow in 2022.
“In Northern Ireland the aerospace industry contributes £1.9 billion to our economy and needs young people to help grow this in the future. The aim of this project is to inspire, motivate and enthuse young people across our communities to come together and learn STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills as they build the aircraft,” said Sean Reynolds, Chairman of the Build a Plane Project Northern Ireland.
“It is not just about technology however, as it provides the opportunity to develop wider life skills such as team work, leadership, commitment to a project, project management, time management and communication, all essential skills to help prepare for future studies and careers,” added Sean Reynolds.
In addition to learning about building the aircraft the students will be introduced to the Queen’s University Belfast full motion simulator, be given an opportunity to fly their model in the simulator, assess how well it flies, and compare it to the actual flight characteristics of the full size aircraft. The Student Mentors will facilitate the flight simulation and will also help with the build at the UAS.
The project is a joint venture with the Education Authority and Queen’s University Belfast and is supported by industry including Boeing, Denroy, Bombardier, JW Kane, Collins Aerospace, Thales and Victrex. The programme is also supported by ADS the National Aerospace Trade Body that has 100 member companies in Northern Ireland.