Stoke Gifford Scouts learn all about aviation

By Andrew Phelps, leader, 1st Stoke Gifford Scouts.

The Old School Rooms (OSR) troop recently spent time learning ‘all things aviation’ for the Air Activities Badge.

This is a multi-stage badge, so anyone in Scouting can progressively learn more and extend their knowledge and skills from Beavers to Explorers.

Photo of a group of Scouts standing in front of aircraft landing gear.
Scouts from the 1st Stoke Gifford Old School Rooms troop on a visit to Aerospace Bristol.

With the local connection to the aviation industry being so strong, it seemed a natural badge for the Scouts to attempt.

Firstly, we went to the Aerospace Bristol museum on Hayes Way in Patchway, and as well as looking around this great educational facility the Scouts were taken into the classroom to design a rocket and use a foot pump to project it into the air. Some designs were more successful than others, with a few getting stuck up in the rafters. The staff were great and very helpful. The Concorde exhibit was awesome, and the displays were a great way to show the Scouts some requirements of the air activities badge.

The remaining requirements were covered by Mike Webb, one of the assistant Scout leaders whose background is in aviation, with him teaching the Scouts about how the controls work to make the aircraft manoeuvre and speed up, slow down and land.

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The Scouts made paper airplanes and tested them in the OSR hall – planes of all shapes and sizes. Some models were very aerodynamic, and the Scouts had chance to make adjustments with a little advice from others. All the models flew and it was a bit like watching the film clips of man’s early attempts at flight.

The final section of the badge was a flight simulator, and we were lucky enough to be joined by Roger, a former RAF fast jet pilot and current flight instructor, who brought into the Old School Rooms some gaming simulator controls. These enabled the Scouts to fly circuits around Reykjavik in Iceland, in full control of the aircraft with Roger explaining and describing rolling, banking, climbing and increasing speed etc. whilst the Scouts performed the movements.

Photo of a Scout using a desktop flight simulator.
Flying circuits around Reykjavik using gaming simulator controls.

Learning all about aviation was great and with parents, family and friends working in the industry hopefully we have sparked some of the Scouts to think of careers either building, flying or designing the aircraft of the future.

This is what Scouting is all about – ‘Skills For Life’.

We have a great team of adult volunteers at the troop and are always looking for more. We are especially looking for a group treasurer; if you are interested or would like further information, please contact Paul Smith the group Scout leader (email pauljampotsmith@gmail.com) or visit the 1st Stoke Gifford website and complete an enquiry form.

This article originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on page 26).

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