Derby Branch Run Cool Aeronautics

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Outreach and working with young people is very important to the Royal Aeronautical society and its important to celebrate the times when our members and volunteers create amazing outreach events.

On the 27th September 2022, the RAeS Derby Branch hosted a cool aeronautics event at Derby Airfield. Cool aeronautics is a STEM outreach event that aims to inspire key stage 2 children into thinking about aviation or aerospace careers. These events are run in a number of ways but the Derby branch do a great job of organizing and running their own events each year.

This year the year 6 class from Ashover Primary School visited Derby Airfield to experience a day of fun activities and learning. Francesca Guardavaccaro and Tony Razzell led the morning with paper plane making and a talk on the history and physics of flight. Some of the elements spoken about such as thrust, drag, lift and weight, would prove to be useful in the afternoon activities. There were plenty of great questions asked before the next activity began.

The children were split into 6 groups and member of Airspeed Aviation Ltd operating at Derby Airfield volunteers to take the groups to explore the grounds.  Children were introduced to:

  • Wind Tunnel – The wind tunnel was used to show the aerodynamics of a small replica plane wing.
  • Small aircrafts – Children were able to get inside and explore the controls of small private air craft.
  • Control tower- Volunteers explained the purpose of the control tower and what they were looking for on the radars and screens
  • Fire truck- They were shown an old fashioned fire truck and told about why it would be needed both for private and commercial airports
  • 3D printer – Tony was able to demonstrate the 3D printer and explain how you program the X, Y and Z axis.
  • The Hanger- The Hanger was clean and full of different types of private planes. Volunteers were able to show the children the difference between the types of aircraft.

Each volunteer explained the background of the areas and allowed children to ask questions. Before they returned for a brief overview

After lunch children where given the task of building their own wooden gliders. Francesca was joined by  Peter, Radu, Tom and Rob who assisted helped explain the aerodynamics and allowed the children freedom to decorate and create their gliders out of different shaped pieces. Branch members also assisted in the building of the glider before teams completed some test flights. After some modifications the groups then had a competition to see who could fly their glider the furthest with some good distances being recorded

-16.5m The Belgium Blues

-9m The Hornet

-6m The Midnight Eagles

Children were given a debrief of the day and allowed to ask some last minute questions before leaving with a cool Aeronuatics goody bag and a 3D printed Key ring with their name on designed by Tony himself.

We would like to thank every one from the Derby Branch, Francesca Guardavaccaro, Radu Irimia, Tony Razzell, Peter Razzell, Tom Mulcahy and Rob Kelsall who attended on the day.  And Amina Dalton and Jayanth Venkatesh who helped in the preparation leading up to the evet. It was a great effort and very much enjoyed by everyone as well as the children from Ashover

We would also like to thank T. Martin Jones BSc. Ceng. FRAeS. LAE and staff and volunteers at Derby Aero Club Fly school who offer their facilities each year to run this event. Without businesses like this it is hard to demonstrate the real life situations and deliver inspirational messages with a wow factor. If you are from the east midlands and looking for lessons or even gaining your private pilots license you can find them here Derby Aero Club. If you have any questions for them you can email


If youre interested in running your own Cool Aeronautics event, please email for guidance.