Benenden school girls take flight in self built aircraft

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Girls at Benenden School took flight in a light aircraft they built themselves last Sunday at Headcorn Aerodrome.

A team of 28 pupils have been constructing the microlight one evening each week under the guidance of staff members since September 2016, and now, after 18 months’ work, they have taken to the skies in the aircraft to celebrate their achievement.

This engineering project has been run with the British Microlight Aircraft Association [BMAA] as part of the organisation’s New Horizons scheme.

The BMAA funds the project and the school is responsible for building the aircraft.

Matt Commander, Benenden’s Deputy Head for Staff and Co-Curricular, has overseen the build. He said: ‘This is a great example of girls getting involved in engineering. We’re really keen to promote STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths] activities and for the girls to do something practical in this area – what better way than to build an aircraft?’

The girls have put their own stamp on the microlight, decorating it in Benenden’s colours – and with the proud registration mark G-GRLS.

‘This isn’t a project where the pupils are watching as the adults do all the work,’ continued Mr Commander.

‘The girls have done it all themselves, and developed so many skills and attributes throughout this project – hard work, commitment, patience, teamwork and listening to expert advice. These will all stay with them for life.’

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