The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) has launched a new competition, Falcon 2, aimed at young people aged 6-19 to design and build an accessible mobile flight simulator.

The Falcon 2 programme builds on the success of the previous RAeS build-a-plane competition, which was designed to enable young people to develop and demonstrate key skills which future employers and training providers look for and to learn more about opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and aviation.

Alongside the Royal Aeronautical Society, the partners in Falcon 2 are Boeing, the disabled flying charity, Aerobility, and Middlesex University.

Young people aged 6-19 are invited to use their science and engineering skills to design, develop and build a real-life mobile flight simulator which will travel to Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) schools and public events around the UK to introduce people from all backgrounds to the wonder of flight.

For many people, the opportunity to fly a plane may seem impossible, particularly to those with disabilities. However, Aerobility has developed a range of programmes and aircraft adaptations that allow many disabled people to do just that – learning to fly an aircraft and gain their pilot’s licence, providing the ultimate feeling of freedom, pride and independence.

The challenge is split into two phases:

PHASE 1 – The Design Brainstorm Challenge: A poster competition to present design and technology ideas for an accessible flight simulator, with the chance to win prizes for school, college, learners or youth groups. Prizes include fully funded educational visits and vouchers for schools and other groups. There are two age categories for Phase 1 – one for ages 6-11 and one for ages 11-19.

PHASE 2 – The Big Build: The winning build teams will take on one or more fully funded work packages for the flight simulator, culminating in the final assembly FlightSimCamp at Blackbushe Airport in Hampshire in summer 2024 where teams will integrate the different components which they have worked on into the flight simulator. This phase is open to ages 11-19 only, and RAeS particularly welcomes entries where mainstream schools, colleges, learners or youth groups team up with SEND schools whether virtually or face-to-face.

There are nine work packages which break down the flight simulator build into key engineering and technology projects which schools or other groups can bid for, for example creating accessible seating for the motion platform, visual displays, flight controls or leading the build of a roadworthy trailer to safely transport the simulator around the UK once it is complete.