Inspiring the next generation

Primary school children who won a competition to inspire future engineers will get to meet the Red Arrows at this year’s Bournemouth Air Festival.

Six winners from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole primary schools won the competition to design a paper aeroplane.

They will now meet the world class RAF pilots at this year’s free four-day event, organised by BCP Council.

The winners will be taken on a tour of the festival’s Ultra Energy STEM Village (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), which features exciting demonstrations from local STEM companies.

All primary schools in the BCP Council area were also invited to an exclusive Question and Answer online event with the Red Arrows in late June.

About 130 classes and 3,300 children took part in the event, which featured Flt Lt Patrick Kershaw from the Red Arrows and promoted the Ultra Energy STEM Village.

The pilot, known as Red 5, spoke about his fondness for Bournemouth and how he would be looking forward to seeing the children wave as he flew over for this year’s air festival.

A spokesperson from Stourfield Infants School said: “Thank you for giving our school the opportunity to take part in today’s Q and A with Red 5.

“The children have been talking about it all day. He has truly inspired a whole school, so many aspiring to be a Red Arrows’ pilot.

“We’ve had lots of paper aeroplane making in Sparkle Time this afternoon, the playground was definitely a very busy runway!”

One winner of the paper aeroplane competition was Dylan Goodman from Winton Primary School, whose brightly coloured design caught the attention of the judges.

Dylan’s mother Sarah Goodman said: “Dylan is aviation mad, and it’s been his dream for as long I can remember to join the RAF and be a Red Arrow pilot, so this is an incredible opportunity for him!”

He will join winners from Heatherlands Primary School, Parkfield School, St Clement’s and St John’s Infant School, Talbot Heath and Christchurch Infants.

Councillor Richard Burton, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People, said: “This community engagement has really helped us inspire the next generation of schoolchildren into STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

“If you’re a budding engineer, or you’re just interested in how things work, please do visit the Ultra Energy STEM Village at this year’s Bournemouth Air Festival.

“It will feature games and interactive displays on topics such as virtual reality, lifeboats that save lives at sea and zero-carbon technology.

“Some of the region and nation’s top experts specialising in various STEM sectors will be there, such as the RNLI and Rolls Royce. It’s not to be missed!”

Squadron Leader Tom Bould, Team Leader and Red 1 of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, said: “STEM subjects power the work of the Red Arrows and are at the core of so many roles within the RAF.

“We’ve all been very impressed by the creativity and ingenuity in all in the children’s paper aeroplane designs. Every entry was a possible winner!”

Paul Hine, Ultra Energy’s STEM Ambassador, said: “Applying STEM to the world’s challenges is often the only way we’ll solve them.

“This year our stand will bring to life a zero-carbon theme with interactive games exploring how nuclear energy works and how we make it safe and controllable. We can’t wait to see you there!”

Visit the Ultra Energy STEM Village on the East Cliff at the Bournemouth Air Festival 31 August – 3 September 2023.

Editor’s notes:

See a list of all exhibitors at:

Ultra Energy – Ultra Energy – this year’s STEM Village sponsor, based in Ferndown. It’s goal is to see nuclear energy fulfil its net zero potential by engineering innovative safety solutions that help nuclear companies succeed. Website –

RNLI – with cutting edge technology the RNLI saves lives at sea. RNLI engineers design, build or maintain the charity’s lifeboats and stations or have a supporting role in finance, HR, planning or administration. Website –

Thales – this year’s display appearance supporter of the RAF Chinook Display Team. From the credit card in your pocket, your passport, your secure online banking and supporting UK’s Army, Navy and Air Force, Thales teams harness the extraordinary power of technology to build a future we can all trust. Website –

Rolls Royce – Rolls-Royce develops and delivers complex power and propulsion solutions for safety-critical applications in the air, at sea and on land. We harness the potential of cutting edge technologies to create safe, cleaner and more efficient power and propulsion solutions. Website –

Micro Nav Limited the leading, award-winning specialist producer of Air Traffic Control simulators with an unbroken track record since 1988. Website – Micro Nav

Yunex Traffic –  a world leader in intelligent traffic systems, offering the widest end-to-end portfolio of solutions for adaptive traffic control and management. Website – Yunex

Spherea Test & Services Ltd– an international group providing complex test solutions for aerospace and defence platforms, systems and equipment. Website –

Superior Seals Ltd  – a leading manufacturer of high integrity o-rings and seals  Website Superior Seals Ltd

Parvalux Electric Motors Ltd – the UK’s largest fractional horsepower electric motor manufacturer and supplier, with state of the art manufacturing and service facilities.  Website Parvalux

AUB (Arts University Bournemouth) – a leading University offering high quality specialist education in art, design, media and performance across the creative industries. Website –

Centre VR – Europe’s largest virtual reality arenas and escape room venues. Over 100 amazing experiences for seven-year-olds to adults. Website –

Bournemouth University – a university that inspires learning, advances knowledge and enriches society worldwide, through research, education, and the impact of its staff, students and graduates –

KW Engineering – an engineered aerospace component company based in Poole –

IMI Thompson Valves Ltd – designing, manufacturing, assembling and testing high integrity pneumatic and hydraulic flow control devices.  Website – IMI Thompson Valves 

Leonardo – sponsor of the Typhoon Display Team this year, Leonardo is a global high-tech company and a leading player in Aerospace, Defence and Security. Website –

AECC University College – specialist health sciences university, delivering high-quality education, research, clinical and consultancy services in chiropractic, physiotherapy, psychology, radiology and imaging sciences. Website –

For more information on the displays and aircraft as they are being announced please go to the Bournemouth Air Festival website or stay up to date on social media: Facebook: @bournemouthairfestival, Instagram: bmthairfest, Twitter: @BmthAirFest

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