new horizons - build-a-plane
Schools building aircraft
The British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA) is a members organisation formed to represent British microlight pilots in all aspects of their sport. Among the aims of the BMAA is the promotion of microlight flying as an affordable and fun flying hobby and encouraging new microlight pilots.
The BMAA is keen to involve young people in aviation and to this end has offered Flight Training Bursaries to help with the cost of training and more recently by its build-a plane scheme for schools known as the New Horizons project.
New Horizons provides a school with a comprehensive kit of parts to build a two seat microlight aircraft. On completion the aircraft is test flown by a fully qualified Test Pilot. After the test flight the aircraft will be sold to provide funds for another New Horizons build a plane project.
From Transit to Transport
The project provides many opportunities for the school and the pupils that build the aircraft some of which are:
• An introduction to aviation – an important part of 21st century life
• An insight into the mechanics of aviation – encouraging students with an interest in engineering
• Practical hands-on construction – developing knowledge of tools and physical skills
• Working as part of a team – developing an understanding of team relationships
• Recording progress and reporting the build in words and images – developing communication skills
• Completing the aircraft – achieving a goal to be proud of and excited about
• Promoting the school – very few schools can boast of such an exciting lesson plan
Unlike some other great projects that last forever New Horizons is designed to grow from a van load of boxes to a ready to fly aircraft in the period of a school year. Students working on the project will see it through from start to finish, not just dip in to a never ending task that was started before they can remember and won’t be completed until after they have left school. We see the project as a part of the curriculum, not just an after-school activity.
New Horizons provides a project for go-ahead schools with go-ahead staff and willing students.
Each aircraft is supplied with a build manual that details the sequence of construction. We expect the school to be able to appoint sufficient staff to the project so there is no period of inactivity and those staff must have manual skills and be able to oversee and manage the construction of the aircraft; this is a hands-on project. We expect the staff to be as enthusiastic about building an aircraft as the students.
The BMAA will appoint an experienced builder as a mentor who can also help with the more complex parts of the build, but the main construction will be completed by the students. The BMAA will also appoint an experienced microlight aircraft Inspector who will independently check work as it is completed stage by stage. The inspector can also advise and guide, but to maintain independence cannot be part of the build.
When the aircraft is finally built the mentor will take responsibility for the final preparations making the aircraft ready for its maiden flight.
The project must be housed in a dry secure building, ideally with enough room to house the completed aircraft as it grows. When it comes time to make the first flight the wings can be removed for transport and the aircraft will be taken by trailer to a suitable airfield for test flying. Of course the students and staff will be invited along to witness the first flight.
As with any construction project a variety of hand tools will be required, we will supply a list of what is needed. The build area must be large enough to work in comfortably with good lighting, a clean dry floor and some areas of workbench. A power source will be needed for power tools, unless battery driven.
The BMAA will purchase the aircraft kit and supply it to the school. When the kit is completed we will sell the aircraft to help fund the next project.
During the build period, from delivery to collection, the school is responsible for the aircraft and must ensure that the aircraft is insured for loss due to any cause, or agree to cover the cost of damage or loss up to the total value of the aircraft.
The BMAA will cover all costs incurred by the project mentor and inspector and all fees associated with the aircraft build.
If your school is interested in a New Horizons project please write to us at New Horizons. BMAA, Bullring, Deddington. Oxon. OX 15 0TT and we will contact you to discuss details.