St Louis Grammar School becomes first team from Northern Ireland to claim victory in Raytheon Technologies Quadcopter Challenge
Following months of pitching, preparation and flying, the Raytheon Technologies Quadcopter Challenge crowned Pollution Solution from St Louis Grammar School its 2022 winners last night after a nail-biting final at Royal Air Force College Cranwell.
The competition, designed to encourage students to take up STEM, saw 92 teams compete nationwide for the coveted title.
Students had to consider the environment as they designed and built their quadcopters: from the materials they incorporated to the machine’s planet-saving purpose.
The winning team (pictured) was composed of Kacper Noeswicz, Ross Sloan, Daniel Cunningham and Hannah Murney with help from teachers and mentors from the Raytheon Technologies STEM Ambassador program.
This is the first time a team from Northern Ireland has entered the competition.
“It feels really unbelievable, we’re so shocked. We’ve been doing this for so long and it’s just such an achievement to be standing here,” said Hannah Murney, student at St Louis Grammar School and member of winning team, Pollution Solution. “I wasn’t necessarily interested in technology and engineering for STEM, but as I started this, I’ve seen many opportunities and see all the career paths that are available to me.”
Since April, students have been building their quadcopters, participating in practice fly days to test their designs and make real-time spot repairs, and then competing in a regional final against other local schools to claim their top stop in the final.
Hosted in a base steeped in over 100 years of Royal Air Force history, the challenge culminated in a day of competition where young people from all over the country presented their quadcopters and responded to tasks set to them by a judging panel.
“I was delighted to be on the judging panel for the national final of the Raytheon Quadcopter Challenge,” said Air Commodore Andrew Dickens, Commandant Royal Air Force College Cranwell. “Supporting events like this that inspire future generations of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers is at the heart of what the Royal Air Force Youth and STEM seek to achieve.”
The Judging panel consisted of Air Commodore Andrew Dickens, Commandant Royal Air Force College Cranwell, Pam Robertshaw, Head of Performance Excellence at Raytheon UK, Sajeda Afzal, Value Stream Leader at Collins Aerospace, Ross Tarnowski, Head of Learning and Skills for Engineering and Technology at Lincoln College, Maggie Appleton, CEO of RAF Museum and Milly Francis-Owen, Aircraft Apprentice at Raytheon UK.
“The quadcopter challenge is actually the project which inspired me to begin a career within engineering, as I competed in the challenge aged 14,” said Millie Francis-Owen, Aircraft Apprentice at Raytheon UK. “It furthered my interest to take engineering at GCSE, and then continue with engineering at college. This then led me to the apprenticeship which I’m currently part way through. It has had a substantial impact on my life as it has led me to where I am today.
“So much can be learnt and applied to future work I am tasked with. As a judge, I hope to inspire more students like myself,” she said.
Since it began seven years ago, the quadcopter challenge has continued to expand. This year saw the challenge reach all four nations of the United Kingdom with over 92 teams, 41 schools and Air Cadet groups and 500 students taking part.