National engineering accolade for students’ drone design

Monday 21 March 2016

WEB Big Bang Fair 2016 GSAL team Aerial Roof Inspection

Four students from The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) are flying high after impressing the judges in the finals of a major national competition for young engineers.

Under the team name Aerial Roof Inspection, the upper sixth students designed and built a working prototype of a drone that transmits aerial photos and live footage to provide a novel, safe and cost-effective way of inspecting rooftops.

Alexandra Lethenyey, Sam Seldon, Andrew Huff and John Greathead displayed their drone at the National Science + Engineering Competition during The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair at the NEC in Birmingham. From over 200 finalists nationwide, they were shortlisted as one of five to make a final pitch to the judges and finished the competition as runners up.

Paying tribute to the winning entry, a high performance car that was wheelchair accessible, Sam said: “The winning entry was incredible and deserved to win so we were happy to get runner up. Our project came together well, each of us specialised in different things which made us a good team.”

Alexandra said: “The steepest learning curve for me was the technical side; learning about drones took a lot of internet research, patience and teamwork. After the technical work The Big Bang Fair was our opportunity to show our project off to the world.”

Andrew said: “We learned a lot more than just the technical engineering side, we had to be able to present, show how our project is different from what’s already on the market, and get people interested who might not normally be.”

John said: “Seeing the projects the other schools had come up with was fascinating. The scale of the event at the NEC was phenomenal with 75,000 visitors over four days, showing the success of efforts in recent years to enthuse young people about engineering.”

On the panel of judges were structural engineer Roma Agrawal, Mark Champkins, inventor in residence at the Science Museum, TV presenter and STEM ambassador Kate Bellingham, Dr Shini Somara, mechanical engineer, and Jason Bradbury, TV presenter.

Congratulating the team, Paul Jackson, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK which organises The Big Bang Fair, said: “It’s easy to see why this idea stood out to the judges but all the finalists are worthy of mention. This glimpse into the minds of the scientists and inventors of tomorrow promises great things for the future.”

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