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EIGHT TEAMS of students from Cotswolds schools teamed up with engineering firms to compete in a unique challenge at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford today (Saturday 7 July).

The Lockheed Martin TAIR//IRT Warrior Engineering Challenge asked the engineers of the future to design and build a scale-model ground machine, based on the Warrior armoured vehicle, capable of completing a number of challenges.

The students - from Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, Balcarras School near Cheltenham, The Cotswold School at Bourton-on-the-Water, Carterton Community College, Greendown Community School in Swindon, The Ridgeway School from Swindon, Marling School in Stroud, and Malmesbury School - were teamed with engineers from local firms, and received their full design brief over breakfast at 8am this morning. The challenge was to create a ground vehicle, controlled electronically, to tackle a speed test and then an obstacle course. Marks were awarded for team work, design and efficient use of materials, and then for speed, accuracy and overall quality.

Clear winners were the Carterton Community College team of Ed Bleach, Courtney Sanderson, Amy Thomson and Kai Mills, together with engineer Chris Adlington from Defence Support Group (DSG). Their vehicle design earned top marks for efficient use of materials, and the vehicle produced an immaculate run in the obstacle course, carrying a payload of ping-pong balls over a ramp and sandpit.

The competition was judged by Tom Burbage, Executive Vice President for Lockheed Martin UK, and Air Commodore David Bywater and Dr Jim Glover, Directors of the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust Enterprises.

The trophy was presented to the winning team by Mr Burbage, who said: "This was a great example of focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). This is our fifth year of sponsoring the competition, and it's always amazing. We're very proud to sponsor the future of the industry."

Air Cde Bywater added: "It was an excellent challenge which will have given the youngsters a great insight into some important aspects of engineering. With professional engineers giving them some assistance, I am sure they will have learned a lot, and it was very encouraging to see the results."

And Dr Glover said: "We saw real ingenuity, enthusiasm, teamworkand enjoyment - and that's what engineering should be all about. It's an underated job at the moment but the UK remains at the leading edge of many aspects of the engineering world, including aviation,and we need to continue encouraging young people to take it up - they are the generationthat will keep us at the leading edge. Challenges such as what we've seen today can only help us to do that."

Photo: the winning team from Carterton Community College, pictured with, from left: Stephen Ball, Chief Executive for Lockheed Martin UK; Marillyn Hewson, EVP Electronics Systems of Lockheed Martin; DSG engineer Chris Adlington; Tom Burbage; and Air Cde David Bywater.

July 7, 2012

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Jeremy Clarkson, Television Presenter

“All the thrills, excitement and noise of a Grand Prix, but in the air!”

Jenson Button, Formula 1 Racing Driver

“This is the best airshow!”

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut

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