Boeing and the Historic Army Aircraft Flight came together to hold a STEM outreach day at a local Hampshire school recently. A Boeing graduate on a placement at Middle Wallop grabbed the opportunity to get involved, and this is Maisie’s story . . .
I love taking part in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) events, and any outreach opportunity is a great one! I haven’t been able to do any in-person sessions for a very, very long time so when I was approached to get involved in a combined Boeing and Historic Army Aircraft Flight outreach event I got very excited!
On the day, there was me, another graduate, an apprentice and a pilot. We were split into two teams; I was in the car on the way there. Once we had arrived at the school, we helped clear the landing area of any foreign object debris (FOD) so that it was ready for the arrival of the Scout helicopter.
The Scout took off from Middle Wallop, where the Historic Army Aircraft Flight is based, and started making its way to the school. The students were all waiting outside for the helicopter to arrive and as it came into view the excitement mounted. The Scout did a couple of circles around the school and then the head boy and head girl were tasked with guiding it to land safely outside the headmaster’s office!
Once the Scout was shut down and the rotors had stopped, the students were invited to get up close. They were able to climb inside and see what being in a helicopter feels like. So many great questions were asked and all the students were keen to learn more!
It wasn’t just helicopter fun and games, the team all delivered multiple talks to the students from reception to sixth form. I love speaking to students of different ages, seeing what parts of my journey and job intrigues them the most. My talks were mostly with students in Years 8, 9 and 10, who are coming up to GCSE time and starting to properly think about their future careers.
After lunch the helicopter took off and hopped over to the primary school. The headmaster got a short ride and I think it made his year! It is such an amazing feeling seeing a helicopter take off, you can feel the force of the rotor blades and start to understand the power that rotorcraft have!
We all moved over to the primary school and split into our groups. I stayed with the helicopter and spoke with the primary school students about the aircraft and also about my job. We could all tell how extremely excited the students were to see the Scout in real life, they were so enthusiastic and keen to learn more.
I was on the final flight that took off from the school and headed back to Middle Wallop. I almost felt like a celebrity with the amount of excitement in the air, the children were cheering and waving as we lifted off!
It was such a gorgeous, clear day and our time in the air was beautiful. The journey took under 15 minutes and it was so much fun. It went by very quickly and before I knew it we were preparing to land. I found it fascinating flying over and landing at Middle Wallop, I could see the whole Army Air Corps site and the Boeing building where I work!
After we landed we were able to have a look around the Hangar and met some of the members of the Flight who volunteer and look after these historic aircraft. Most of the volunteers are retired Army Air corps engineers and pilots. It was so interesting hearing their stories and seeing their passion for keeping these aircraft available to be flown and viewed by the public. It was the most incredible day and I am so happy I was involved!