School to build Flight Simulator!

Sowerby Bridge Rotary Club is helping Ryburn "˜STEM"™ Club Reach For The Skies as they enter the second round of "The Falcon Initiative"

Students from Ryburn Valley High School STEM Club (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) have successfully entered the Falcon Initiative Flight Simulator Project to build a life size, full motion flight simulator. As one of only 10 schools across the country selected by Boeing and the Royal Aeronautical Society to take part we have done really well to be selected. 

Launched in early 2015, ‘The Falcon Initiative’ is an innovative project that aims to inspire 13-18 year-olds by providing them with an opportunity to take part in a practical, fun and educationally-relevant engineering and business project.

Ryburn Valley students and staff have worked with lots of local and international companies who have offered help and advice to create our successful application. These companies include the Sherburn Aero Club, Multiflight Ltd, Hystat Systems Ltd, A2A Simulations, and many more.

The current stage of the competition requires us to produce a working prototype simulator by 30th March 2016. All entrants will be judged with 2 schools then receiving full funding to produce a complete simulator.

Pupils from years 8 – 13 are taking part in teams tasked to complete specific parts of the project:

1. Making cockpit instruments to show how the aircraft is flying

2. Yoke and pedals to control the movement

3. Designing a realistic interior

4. Seating and safety belts to keep the pilots safe 

5. Computer programming to produce a moving image for the pilots to see

6. Marketing to raise awareness of the project for sponsorship

Having visited Sherburn Aero Club to become familiar with the layout of aircraft controls students got to fly their 2 aircraft simulators, tour the hangars and sit in a real aeroplane. The kind sponsors at Sherburn also donated the body of a PA 28 light aircraft, which we are using to house our simulator. This is currently on display in the school foyer.

We are now looking forward to visiting Sherburn again in November when those involved in the project will get the chance to fly in a light aircraft. One lucky student in each plane will also get the chance to take the controls and fly the aeroplane under the supervision of their qualified instructor! Not bad for a school trip.

None of this would have been possible without the support of the Rotary Club of Sowerby Bridge, especially Derek Rolinson and Stanley Topliss, who have helped us both financially with a donation of £750 and to source the many sponsors who have donated their time and money to help students access such an exciting project.  

The Community Foundation for Halifax have also helped with sponsorship of the project and we are always looking for further funding, components and advice. If you think you can help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch - email

By Kaitlyn Roberts, Poppy Allingan and Mollie Hayley-Earnshaw, (Year 13 students)

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