Recently The Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ UAS Challenge returned to the Snowdonia Aerospace Centre in Llanbedr for their annual competition, with local school pupils invited to take part. University teams from across the world, who had spent the last year designing and building drones to meet a specific brief, came together to test their creations by taking part in a series of challenges.
Pupils from Ysgol Llanbedr, along with children from Ysgol y Moelwyn, Ysgol Ardudwy and Ysgol Bro Idris, were invited to the aerospace centre over the two days to take part in different activities to inspire and promote educational and career opportunities available in Aerospace Engineering.
Activities included making balloon airships, experimenting with model aeroplanes, “flying” a virtual reality aeroplane and building working lighthouses out of paper. They were also given the opportunity to speak to the teams and ask questions about the different drone designs.
The winners of an Air Adventures art and design competition, in which children were asked to design an aircraft that could tackle a humanitarian crisis, were also invited to the event to receive their prizes and certificates.
This year’s UAS Challenge attracted teams from universities from as far as Denmark, Pakistan and the Netherlands who came to compete with their drones. The competition was won by team AirWorks Beta from the Pakistan National University of Sciences and Technology.
Councillor Gareth Thomas, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “I am delighted that Gwynedd Council has sponsored the schools activities at this year’s event. We are working to support Snowdonia Aerospace Centre so that it may one day offer good quality engineering jobs to allow young people such as these to remain and prosper in their communities.”
Colin Brown, CEO of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “We are keen to encourage more young people to consider engineering as a career. We hope that by coming to the Challenge, they see how exciting and creative engineering can be and what fantastic opportunities it offers.”
Dr John Idris Jones, Chair of Snowdonia Enterprise Zone, said: “I am delighted that the event was again successful and that the Snowdonia Aerospace Centre provides the ideal location for the Challenge. With a growing number of civil applications for the use of unmanned systems, this is going to be an important sector and I was particularly impressed with the engagement of local schools.
“The Enterprise Zone Board is acutely aware that there is a need to provide good quality employment within the area to retain our young people and I’m hopeful that in future, the Llanbedr site can offer those opportunities. I look forward to welcoming the event back in 2020.”
1. Councillor Annwen Hughes (Llanbedr), Councillor Cemlyn Williams (Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Education) and Ysgol Llanbedr pupils with the Imperial College team.
2. Councillor Gareth Thomas (Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development) and Ysgol Bro Idris pupils with members of Bath University.