The Falcon 2 Accessible Simulator STEM Challenge

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Win prizes for your school, college or youth group and help change lives through aviation

Can you use your innovation and creative skills to design a flight simulator that will enable able bodied and disabled people to experience the thrill of flying

The Royal Aeronautical Society is delighted to announce our new format Falcon2 Challenge, partnering with Boeing, disabled flying charity Aerobility and Middlesex University, will be launching soon! We are inviting young people aged 6-19 to contribute their design and engineering skills to design, develop and build a real-life mobile flight simulator which will travel to Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) schools and public events around the UK to introduce people from all backgrounds to the wonder of flight.

For many people, the opportunity to fly a plane may seem impossible, particularly to those with disabilities, both visible and invisible. However, Aerobility has developed a range of programmes and aircraft adaptations that allow many disabled people to do just that – learning to fly an aircraft and gain their pilot’s licence, providing the ultimate feeling of freedom, pride and independence.

We would like to open up these experiences to many more people and need your help! And that’s why we’ve launched this exciting competition. There are two challenges: a poster challenge and a Design, Develop and Build Challenge.


The Falcon 2 Programme aims to build on the success of our previous RAeS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programmes and enable young people to develop and demonstrate the key skills which future employers and training providers are looking for, learn more about opportunities in the STEM sector, all while helping to improve people’s lives.

Participants will develop skills such as:

  • Innovation and STEM – through application of design, science, ICT and maths principles and carrying out research to address a real-life engineering challenge with consideration of environmental issues
  • Disability awareness – developing a better understanding of disability, working together to help break down barriers
  • Teamwork and interpersonal skills – working with each other and collaborating with build teams in other locations
  • Presentation – participants will be invited to showcase their achievements at shows and events
  • Project management – experience of planning and managing time, people and other resources

The programme is also aligned to the promotion of Fundamental British Values in schools, particularly individual liberty and mutual respect, through encouraging better understanding of disability.


Flight simulators are devices that are fixed firmly to the ground but artificially recreate an aeroplane’s flight and the environment in which it flies. Flight simulators provide many people with a fantastic introduction to flying, replicating all the qualities of a real aircraft, from the flight deck and control panels to the feeling of movement as you ‘fly’. We want to harness new technologies and young people’s creativity to create a flight simulator for the future that is accessible to everyone, regardless of physical or hidden disabilities, and which makes the experience more real and enjoyable than ever!

The Falcon2 Programme is made up of two phases:

PHASE 1 – The Design Brainstorm Challenge

A poster competition to present design and technology ideas for an accessible flight simulator, with the chance to win prizes for your school/youth group. Prizes include fully-funded educational visits and vouchers for your school/group.

There are two age categories – one for primary ages 6-11 and one for secondary ages 11-19. Entries are welcomed from schools, colleges and youth groups.



You don’t need to be a top artist to take part! We are looking for innovative ideas that can make a difference.

For this age group the focus will be on the creative ideas that have been put forward by entrants and innovative ways to help people with disabilities use the simulator.

Launch Date TBC


We’re looking for more focus on innovation, structured thinking and practical application of the design concept being proposed.

Posters should demonstrate engineering and technology research, describe your design ideas, highlight any engineering principles that underpin your designs, and what solutions are proposed to enable accessibility for a range of disabilities.

This might include visual or hearing impairment, access for wheelchair users or options for people with autism. Show how your design could work in practice, including the key materials that would be used.

For example, you may be using 3D printers to make some of the parts or a particular software package for the flight sim software. You may be looking at incorporating new technologies such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence or eye gaze technology. Show how you would design or source your solutions and what the costs would be.

You can use all available tools to enhance your poster design, from hand-drawn illustration to computer-aided design software, images of any prototypes or models.

Secondary ages entry deadline: TBC

PHASE 2 – The Big Build

The winning build teams will take on one or more fully-funded work packages for the flight simulator, culminating in Final Assembly FlightSimCamp where build teams will integrate the different components they have worked on into the flight simulator.

This phase is open to secondary ages only, and we particularly welcome entries where mainstream schools/college and/or youth groups team up with SEND schools whether virtually or face-to- face.


This is where secondary schools, colleges and youth groups can put their STEM skills and innovative ideas into practice and bid to become one of the teams building a working system of the flight simulator.

The flight simulator build comprises ten work packages. These include a trailer build/modification work package to ensure the simulator is transportable. Full details of the work packages are provided in the separate Appendix.

Teams can bid for one or more work packages. Judges will make their decision, based on a range of factors, including how your team proposal addresses the criteria for your chosen work package and the credibility of your proposed project plan (time, resources, risks, interdependencies).

Funding is available for each work package but you are encouraged to look for cost effective solutions and sponsorship – both ‘in kind’ and funding contributions from local sponsors.

Once each team has completed their work package, there will be a final integration phase leading to Final Assembly – FlightSimCamp, a fully-funded week-long residential at Blackbushe Airport, Hampshire in Summer 2023. Here, all the build teams will work together to integrate their systems into one design as well as experience a range of fun STEM and career themed activities.


Please note: Only secondary schools, colleges and youth groups that submit a poster design for The Design Brainstorm Challenge can be considered for Phase 2.

If you would like to bid for a Big Build work package please also provide a six-page Design & Build Proposal based on your poster design, which explains your interest in the Build Phase of the programme and your team’s relevant knowledge/ skills. You may used mixed media if you choose, such as video content, to support your proposal.

Your proposal should:

  • Demonstrate how aspects of the design might be built in practice.
  • How you will validate the effectiveness of your proposed solution.
  • Outline the cost effectiveness of your design and resources.
  • Indicate how the team will work on the programme e.g. in an after-school club or as part of a STEM-related lesson, including frequency of project meetings, supervision etc.
  • Highlight the support that will be provided by your school/ college leadership or youth group leader, as well as that from the young people who will be directly involved.
  • Include representation from diverse groups.


Work packages will be awarded to teams based on the Judging Criteria provided in the separate Appendix. The successful teams will receive appropriate funding through an agreed mechanism with the RAeS for all reasonable costs associated with the build and any supporting activities.

There will also be a kick-off workshop with representatives from education, flight simulation, Aerobility and the RAeS to advise on technical and human issues, such as disabled access, which may arise during The Big Build.


By email

Please ensure the final file size does not exceed 10MB. Alternatively, you can use a free file sharing service such as WeTransfer.

Send to:

By post

Send a hard copy or save your video onto a USB stick.

Rishi Radia, Education & Skills Executive, Royal Aeronautical Society, No.4 Hamilton Place, London W1J 7BQ


Please refer to the following documents, which contains more supporting information ( dates will vary from those shown in this document):

1  Schools Brochure – this gives you full details about each phase and further information on Aerobility and their amazing work!

2. Appendix in three parts: i) details about The Big Build and the ten work packages that you can bid for; ii) Judging Criteria for The Design Brainstorm Challenge (Phase 1) and The Big Build (Phase 2); iii) Introduction links to flight simulation

( Dates in these files will vary, relaunch dates tbc due to Covid-19)

3. A poster to display in your school and community.


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