Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Stop press!

STOP PRESS: Another new development!!!!
As part of the Royal Aeronautical Scociety and Boeings investment into the BAP project, we have been assigned a representative to ensure that all is running smoothly on the build project, both here and in London. Martin Davey, our representative, noticed that even with both Tim (our Engineering Development Technician ) and myself, we could certainly use an extra pair of hands or two. After a short advert in the local Air Workers monthly flyer, a staggering 18 retired aeronautical engineers applied to volunteer their services to help out on a regular basis in school. After an initial phone conversation, four volunteers were selected and we met up with two of them last week. They have a range of fantastic skills which will benefit the project immensely from project planning to reporting, build schedule preparation to hands on fabrication advice. I would like to thank Martin and all the applicants for their interest and look forward to working closely with the selected volunteers over the life of the build next year.

Please keep up to date with the latest developments on the ‘Build A Plane Blog’ by following the link from the secondary schools website.

Hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all the build team.

Christmas update

Since our last update a massive amount has changed, not just to the plane itself, but the greater impact it will have on a wider range of young people in Bristol

The build managed to get to a stage where the construction manual, parts diagrams, part location manual and common sense just didn’t work together!! We spent quite a long time ensuring that all the parts necessary for the next chapter of the build were ready and to hand before we started.

This chapter of the build is all based around the cockpit and includes not just the foot brake and rear flap controls, but the elevator joysticks, turning controls and… a thin wooden floor! The main cockpit structure was delivered pre-welded, so all we have to do in effect is kit out the space inside. There are thousands of different parts which all go together in a particular way to make the aircraft fly correctly so we needed to make sure we got it right!

Some of the parts were really tricky to put together however we rose to the challenge. Students used their knowledge of engineering tools and processes to accurately measure, mark out and fabricate some of the special small bespoke pieces, whilst others simply had the pleasure of bolting together individual components like a Lego kit!. As well as creating the rudder and brake pedals, we have now recently started to manufacture the control sticks which make the plane go up, down, left and right in the air. These are very important parts and as such, we are taking our time to make sure things go perfectly.

The other main development is that the weekly extended learning sessions are to be… extended!! We have come to realise that an hour a week is just not feasible, so, every Fortnight on a Tuesday, our students will start the build at 12.35pm and have a full five and a half hours to concentrate on the build until 6.00pm! This will also allow our partner school, The Orchard school, to bring their students down and have a much longer build session than before. The new longer sessions will start every Tuesday week B in the new year.