The Air League has been awarded grant funding from the Department for Transport to support its flagship National Youth Plane Building Programme. This programme will provide a major boost to the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) agenda of the UK’s aviation and aerospace industries to positively influence the career outcomes of many thousands of young people across the UK.
Project Slingshot is our new programme that gives young people practical, hands-on experience in aviation manufacture and flight. Working outside of formal learning environments, these programmes support groups of young people to deliver a complete aircraft thereby developing practical skills in engineering, project management and teamwork. Project Slingshot aircraft deliver a legacy beyond the initial build programme, with each completed aircraft planned to deliver many years of flying for cadets, other youth groups and Air League scholars.
Project Slingshot uniquely focuses on a professional build standard delivered by actively mentored young people, through drawing upon expertise within the RAF Sport Aircraft charitable organisation, industry, the Light Aircraft Association and core programme partners.
Each project will employ an innovative distributed build, with for instance the empennage, wings and fuselage being built at different locations within a region. Teams will come together for final assembly and ideally build sections in rotation, in order to maximise the impact of the project. This very much mimics the way in which aircraft are built by major manufacturers.
The subsequent flying experience will offer Night Flying in Instrument Meteorological Conditions in a highly capable light aircraft. The aircraft are intended to be utilised for military cadet, and other youth organisations’ ab initio flying and will benefit several thousand young people over a typical 25-year service lifetime.
Partners in Project Slingshot can:
- Support the costs of the programme, either as sole funders or as part of a consortium.
- Provide appropriate industry expertise in engineering, project management and manufacturing, supporting the young people to deliver the completed aircraft.
- Provide gifts in kind to support the programme, such as tools, aircraft assembly and space for project builds.
- Help us expand the programme through local connections with Cadet and other youth groups and even young employees or apprentices.
Our corporate partners receive naming and branding opportunities for completed aircraft, the opportunity to develop relationships with groups in their own locality and publicity around ongoing and completed projects as well as access to other Air League events and networking opportunities.
Youth Plane Building Projects are well recognised as being inspirational to young people. Project Slingshot builds upon Centennial Wings, a project that was supported by the Air League and Boeing between 2016 – 20. Centennial Wings saw RAF Air Cadets in Northern Ireland undertake the planning and build of a light aircraft, a TL Sting S4. This project maintained a strong focus on team building and collaboration as well as Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The completed aircraft was displayed at the Royal International Air Tattoo in 2019 and is undergoing final flight testing.
As well as being a successful project in its own right, Centennial Wings has provided us with critical lessons about this type of endeavour that we have incorporated into our planning for Project Slingshot.
How to get involved?
- Get involved in the build! We are yet to announce build locations but will soon be looking out for young people to get involved in the experience as well as experienced organisations and individuals to assist them.
- Support us through the provision of funding, manpower or just simply your time and experience. This is a great opportunity for CSR outreach and beyond.
- Make a donation to widen the scope and reach of the project through our JustGiving page. Any donation, large or small, will make a huge difference.
To receive further information about Project Slingshot, contact [email protected]