A group of girls are set to take to the air in an aircraft they are building themselves as part of an exciting new project being run by the School.
The School have teamed up with the British Microlight Aircraft Association for the initiative which will see the girls construct and design the exterior of a Sky Ranger Swift Fixed Wing Microlight.
The group of 28 girls, who were selected following an application process at the School, spend time each Thursday evening building the aircraft. They started construction on 8 September 2016 and hope to complete it by October 2017.
Video update: 23 January 2017
The time lapse video below shows the progress the girls have made since they started the project on 8 September 2016.
The Microlight Project Blog
As well as building their own aircraft the girls have also been keeping a blog to update us of their progress. Thanks to Claire Isenegger, Millie Horner, Fernanda Wood and Mariesa Two for writing the blog.
Above: The Microlight on 13 March - wings to go on next!
2 March 2017 - Don't step back!
Today, while everyone else continued to lace up the plane, Zara and I drilled a hole for our trim tab- which is thrilling and all, but what I want to know is, which law of physics explains the strange attraction between my knee and the joystick?
23 February 2017 - In the belly of the beast
Ellie, Lucy, Zara and I have started lacing together the bottom of the plane. And everyone else? I honestly, don't really know what they were up to. I was too engrossed in my own job. Oops...
9 February 2017 - Put on some clothes
We drilled holes through poles.
We worked towards our common goals.
We toiled and laboured with all our souls.
But there was still something missing.
Our project was bare, naked, exposed.
And so we gave it some clothes:
2 February 2017 - A l'avenir
Having passed inspection day with flying colours, we convened to have a whole-team meeting to discuss the future, filled with all sorts of exciting prospects- the sky is, after all, the limit.
Of course, no team-get-together is complete without a photoshoot:
27 January 2017 - The Inspector Called
The day finally came: it was time for our plane to be inspected.
Every bar, every bolt, every little detail of our plane was scrutinised. At the end, the inspector had one word for us: Impressive (well it was more than that but one is more dramatic).
12 January 2017 - Things a plaster won't fix
Today was interesting.
First, one of the hundreds of bolts we had secured was screwed in too tight, which effectively crushed* one of our pipes.
*crushed may be slightly hyperbolic
5 January 2017 - A new year and a classics lesson
As we learnt from our first prayers of term, the month of January is named after the Roman god Janus (or Ianus), often portrayed as having two faces facing in opposite directions. And so presumably, January is the month for looking back and forward. (Note also that 'Ianus' is derived from 'ianua' meaning door ie. January is the month of transition)
Looking back, we have come so far on our Microlight journey, and we wouldn't be here without Welly, Angus, Mr Commander and Peter, so thank you all for guiding us through these 3 months, teaching us all that you have taught us, and being patient with us as we tried not to break everything.
Looking forward, we have started on the engine for our aeroplane (coming from the Greek 'aer' meaning air and 'planos' meaning wandering)! Woooooo!
2 December 2016 - Tool of the Week!
As it is the start of December, the Microlight Team wanted to start the festive season with our favourite tool of the week.
This week, the tool of the week is... the safety wire twisting plier (it's got a nice ring to it hasn't it?). This safety wire (or locking-wire) is an extremely intriguing type of positive locking device that prevents fasteners from loosening or falling out due to vibration and other forces; this is essential in order to keep everything in place.
I know for sure along with the rest of the team that this was a very enjoyble discovery!
We hope you have a lovely Christmas and see you in January!
24 November 2016
When building a plane, everything needs to be perfect- if you drill a hole slightly too big, you risk your plane slowly falling apart over time... but don't worry! We have experts at hand to make sure everything is just right!
17 November 2016
It's week 8 and it's not just our two-month anniversary that there is to celebrate! We have started work on our wings!
With this being the highlight of our week, we were of course, ecstatic.
10 November 2016
It's Week 7, and notice anything different? We have pilot seats! This new instalment is temporary, unfortunately, because we still have much more to build- but an exciting development, nonetheless!
3 November 2016
After a much too long break from aeroplane-building during Half Term, we are back at it again for Week 6!
Eager to make progress, we persevered and achieved success! *applause* At the end of our session we joined the plane's frame, originally in two parts (tail and body), to form the foundations of our masterpiece.
9 October 2016
Our second session of Microlight saw a bump in the road on our Microlight journey, which ended up with us having to take down the wheels the first group put up! Sad times, but can we fix it? Yes, we can!
We set to quick work filing down the metal leg the wheel connected to (it was in the way of a bolt), and having fixed that, are on our way to a fully-wheeled frame!
6 October 2016
Just back from putting the first wheels on the plane!!! Although we were down one staff member, with Angus in Wisconsin, and having some difficulties with the nuts and bolts, we managed to successfully attach a wheel! We've left it down to the other group to finish the job...
22 September 2016
It’s the third week of the Microlight Project, and things are going great - if you don’t count the part where one of the teams forgot to put in a metal washer and had to deconstruct everything they had made progress on.
But not to worry, with some quick-thinking and incredible team-work, they were able to fix everything that had gone wrong, and went on to the next phase of the building. Team Two, on the other hand, puzzled over the structure of one of the frames for the entire 45-minute session, but in the end, they managed to get it done!
There have been some head-scratching moments, but we are back on track and more than ready for Week Four.
15 September 2016
Today was our second session building our plane. One group continued working on the fuselage while the other worked on the wheels.