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How the Quadcopter Challenge is taking on sustainability

Raytheon Technologies

3 min read Partner content

The United Kingdom-wide competition is taking off for its 7th year, against the backdrop of the race to net zero.

Ninety-two teams, over 500 students and just one champion. Raytheon Technologies’ annual Quadcopter Challenge is back, and this year is challenging students to design and build a four-blade, remotely piloted drone to help tackle the world’s growing climate crisis.

The challenge is open to 13- and 14-year-old students and Air Cadets across the UK with Raytheon Technologies’ STEM ambassadors helping participants conceptualise, design, build and fly their own quadcopters.

“The aim of the Quadcopter Challenge is to excite and re-engage young people in learning by giving them the opportunity to test and apply their skills to activities outside of their usual curriculum. There is no denying that we all need to do our bit to save the planet and that’s why this year’s theme, sustainability, is so important to get the next generation thinking about the most sustainable practices moving forward.”

Alex Rose-Parfitt, Raytheon UK’s Engineering Director

Teams are encouraged to focus on aspects of this year’s theme – sustainability – that they find interesting. That could mean using renewable materials, building quadcopters to monitor floods, wildfires and the impact of waste on the ocean, or a combination thereof.

“The Quadcopter Challenge is a fantastic way to encourage students into STEM and the endless opportunities it can offer. I am delighted that we have such a brilliant group of Raytheon Technologies STEM ambassadors to inspire the students and engage in real-world, environmental issues that are impacting us all."

Sophie Wilson, Raytheon UK’s STEM lead

Originally a flagship STEM programme of Raytheon UK, this is the second year that the Quadcopter Challenge will be run by all three Raytheon Technologies’ businesses operating in the UK: Raytheon UK, Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney.

Every year, more teams take part in the competition – and this year is no different, with students from County Down, Essex, Gwynedd, Hertfordshire, West Lothian, West Midlands, Denbighshire, Edinburgh, Greater Manchester, Wrexham, Fife, East and West Sussex, Flintshire, Lincolnshire and Ayrshire stepping up to the challenge.

Raytheon Technologies STEM ambassadors are working closely with the Royal Air Force to inspire, guide and develop the skills of each student throughout the competition.

“Inspiring a future generation of scientists, mathematicians and engineers is at the heart of what the Royal Air Force Youth STEM team seek to achieve, which is why we are so excited to support the Raytheon Technologies Quadcopter Challenge. It is a fantastic opportunity for young people to gain exposure to solving real world problems through the application of STEM and open their minds to future career possibilities."

Air Commodore Andrew Dickens, Commandant, Royal Air Force College Cranwell

The Quadcopter Challenge is just one way Raytheon Technologies is investing in STEM and training to plug the STEM skills gap in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Raytheon UK also leads a team of local businesses to deliver diverse cyber talent to South West England and runs a number of Cyber Academy workshops designed to inspire and educate the next generation of cybersecurity specialists.

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