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Posted on: 20/05/2022

St Mary's School, Chiddingfold - Surrey Schools Spectacular

St Mary's School, Chiddingfold - Surrey Schools Spectacular

St Mary's school was in for a treat on Friday 13th of May when they were visited by a team from the Historic Army Aircraft Flight and Boeing to talk about careers in engineering and aerospace.

Chiddingfold cricket pitch found itself surrounded by eager children and excited villagers when at 9am the sound of helicopter rotor blades were heard above the trees.  Marshallers were posted in hi-visibility jackets and the Bell 47 Sioux of the Historic Army Aircraft Flight descended from the east to hover right outside the school, while everyone watched in wonder.

After landing and stopping the engine, Rich (the pilot) and Alice (an engineer), who both work for Boeing, greeted the pupils with big smiles and after jokingly asking whether they had landed in London, the pupils quickly educated them that this was beautiful Chiddingfold.  Each class was treated to a closer look at the helicopter to learn more about it. 

Rich described the marvels of aircraft engineering and explained how flying a helicopter is just like riding a bike… it takes a bit of getting used to, but with perseverance you can learn almost anything! Mark, the Historic Army Aircraft Flight Engagement Lead, was on the other side of the helicopter and explained how the Bell 47 Sioux has been used all over the world, since it was built nearly 60 years ago.

Meanwhile, Alice and Katy, two early career Boeing engineers, spoke in the school hall to classes in turn about how they love Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM).  Their enthusiasm was inspiring for all the pupils, from reception to Year 6, and reinforced how engineering careers are rewarding for all. 

The pupils also heard from professional Air Traffic Controllers about how aircraft are kept safe as they fly around the skies!

The pupils loved the opportunity to see the helicopter up close and to be inspired about engineering and Air Traffic Control.

Alas, time flies when everyone is having fun and all too soon it was time for the team to depart.  Once again the pupils lined the edge of the cricket pitch, this time to see the helicopter depart vertically upwards and accelerate gracefully away, treating all on-lookers to how helicopters defy the laws of gravity!  It wasn’t long before the helicopter was at the next Surrey destination… Rodborough School just up the road!

Mrs Buckley, St. Mary’s School Headteacher

Written by Peter Coates
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