Bloodhound SSC ‘Race for the Line’ Regional Finals

On the 3 May, 100 School children accompanied with teachers, arrived at RAF Halton to partake in the Bloodhound SSC Race for the Line Regional Final, organised by Project Officer Fg Off Colin Fowler. Run by the Learning Partnership and Bloodhound SSC, the programme is encouraging children to consider a career in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. The RAF is supporting the programme for its second season by allowing use of its facilities for the Regional Finals. While primarily not a recruitment drive, the RAF is engaged to promote the RAF to children who may not have a good understanding of what we do.

The day commenced with an introduction from Wg Cdr Niki Stacey in The Groves facility. Following this, the Bloodhound SSC team gave an engaging brief covering their progress towards building the first rocket car designed to break the land speed mark, 1000 mph, testing is scheduled for later 2017 with the intention to break it in 2018. The children were then given the parameters for the rocket car, using actual rockets, which they were required to design
Construction took place in the Henderson Mess Graduation Hall. During this time, the South East Engagement Team provided a stand, manned by Sgt Tony Pickett, where the children could challenge each other on an app called Typhoon Time. This was excellently received, with high levels of competition for the fastest time. While the children had their lunch, the Bloodhound SSC team, supported by Army Rocketeers and participating Servicemen Awaiting Trade Training (SATT), set up the race track in the Burton Drill Facility.
Running along cable race tracks, 2 cars at a time participated in drag races, utilising the BBC Microbit, speed traps had been coded and recorded each cars top speed, post rocket burnt out.

While there was plenty of glory for winning the race, it was the fastest recorded time for both Primary and Secondary schools that won regionally and proceeded to the National Finals, being held at the Santa Pod Raceway.

Once the racing had concluded and scores were recorded and verified by the Bloodhound SSC team, the children were given a guided tour of the James McCudden Flight Heritage Centre.
This rounded up the day perfectly, showcasing RAF history and how it has developed into what we can deliver today. Consequently a number of schools have asked to return and partake in the STEM Cool Aeronautics run by the
heritage team.

Returning to The Groves, the day concluded with the announcement of the winning teams. From the Primary division, Kitebrook Primary School Team 1 took first place. From the Secondary schools, Park High School Team 2 took first place, they also achieved the fastest time of the day, exceeding
45 mph.

The day ran smoothly and everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Feedback from all the schools has been excellent and the pupils developed a great understanding of RAF capabilities and the support the RAF delivers.

With the RAF continuing to support the programme going into its 3rd season, there is an opportunity for RAF personnel to become trained Rocketeers, the SATT’s were encouraged to pursue this opportunity.