In Lelystad there’s not much but yet a lot. We have an airport and a school with thousands of students and a huge working space of 1100m2. This combination provides a possibility for many ideas. Our idea is to combine the accessibility of an airport with students and create an educational course to motivate and inspire.
The current plan is to set up an educational course for student that have finished high-school at the level, havo or vwo. These students will have the opportunity to build a plane and learn how to fly the plane. The students require the adequate grades and motivation to be accepted to the course. The course will proceed with the student building a model plane that can fly to get a simple understanding of Aerodynamics. Furthermore the student will have to learn the theory required to fly a plane this will amount to a great deal of studying. After this the students will start with the assembly of an aircraft build kit this takes up to 1500+ hours. Which means that the student will have lots of work on their hands for a great deal of time. The students will also have to 3d print an engine so that they develop a greater understanding of engines. This is useful for the theory and general knowledge required for maintenance and flying of a plane.
The goal of the course it to educate students on how planes are built and how to fly them but also to show that it isn’t unreachable to fly a plane yet alone build one. the course will inspire a new generation to be involved in aeronautics and could even nurture some great minds in to something more.
The first class will be a pilot class of 12 students to test the course itself and test everything that comes with it. Examples are the time it would take to build the plane, learn all required theory and building the model plane. These are all factors that decide how long it will take to complete the course.
There are other schools that have done similar projects have had some form of sponsoring to build their plane. The schools sell the planes this helps to pay everything. An example is in England several schools have built and air plane.
“The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) and its sponsors Boeing UK, with the assistance of the Light Aircraft Association (LAA), launched an ambitious, innovative and exciting project, the Schools Build-a-Plane Challenge (SBAP-Challenge) in 2008.”
Even here in holland there’s a school that has done a project with the similar idea the main difference is that the students don’t get the opportunity to fly the plane.
(Students of the Vincent van Gogh schools in salland, Assen build a plane. In two years the RV-12 has to be sky worthy. )
Something similar is possible here in Lelystad as we have an airport. At the airport there’s also a self builders club for aircrafts and a flight school. Furthermore there are also lots of retired people with a lot of knowledge that they’re willing to share. All together there are enough facilities for such a project to become a reality. All we need is some cooperation.
There are a wide variety of model plane kits but the easiest would be to 3d print them. From experience done by Max(intern) it has proven to be the simplest way to get something in the air. However the alternative way using wood dose provide a good example of the construction (with some alterations for models)
https://www.eclipson-airplanes.com ( the link with 3d printable planes)
https://www.fablabflevoland.nl/#!/nieuws ( the link to the blog post of Max with feed back on how the building of model planes went)
My experience with the theory is that it is complex and a lot but doable however it does take time to understand. The model planes are great to have when reading about the shapes of the plane and their effect. The students of havo and vwo should be able to understand the majority right away.
According to several blogs people spend 6-10 weeks studying while working full-time.
Aircraft building kits:
A kit would save a lot of time and make the whole course move achievable. To design and manufacture a plane simply cost too much time and knowledge. These are kit for 2 seater planes that would suit the courses plans perfectly.
https://www.vansaircraft.com/rv-14/ ( vans Aircraft student of the TU Delft have built these.)
https://www.breezeraircraft.de/en/aircraft/model-ul-b400-6/ ( breezer a German Airplane manufacturer that works together with many flight schools )
https://www.hummelaircraft.com/shop-ultracruiser ( an airplane that is relatively cheap but a 1 seater so not ideal )
https://www.pipistrel-usa.com/alpha-electro/ ( a fully electric plane great for learning and innovative.)
Schools with experience in the topic:
These school have successfully built a plane. These planes could all fly and where sold at the end.
https://www.aerosociety.com/careers-education/schools-outreach/schools-build-a-plane/ ( the 6 schools have built an airplane)
https://www.tudelft.nl/lr/organisatie/afdelingen/dasml/aircraft-manufacturing-laboratory ( student that have built a plane at the TU Delft)
https://www.dvhn.nl/drenthe/Leerlingen-Vincent-van-Gogh-bouwen-vliegtuig-21630982.html ( a dutch school in assen That built a plane with the help of someone experienced)
https://deac-teuge.nl/over-ons/ ( a project that many schools and organisation work together on )
https://www.boeing.com/principles/education/explore-by-format.page#/traveling_expo (Boeing has many projects in effort to educate youth and Boeing-UK has worked together with schools to do similar projects)
https://nag.aero/activities-updates/programmes/educavia-education-for-aviation/ ( Netherlands Aerospace Group, might be a good asset as they active in promoting aviation education amongst youth and are based in the Netherlands )
+31 (0)88 1976 107
(Contact person for the educative programs of NAG)
We have also looked in to using simulators as ground schooling to familiarise the student with the instruments and the feeling of manoeuvres. This idea still needs further investigation and professional opinions but would be be optimal. The plus side of a simulator is that it fits in a class room, the students can swap out quicker and that the cost are far less in the long term.
There are several simulator on the for aviation but the professional grade for aviation has a hefty price tag. These simulators can be replaced by a smaller scale simulator and with the use a VR set you will be able to get a very immersive experience.
https://landing.redbirdflight.com/posts/using-full-motion-flight-simulators ( professional grade flight simulator)
Info on the plane license
PPL (Private Pilot License) is the most suitable for the students as its the basic license and allows you to solo fly in a single engine plane. This license usually cost 9-12 thousand euros but the plan is to make it costless for the students. This is achievable if the classes are taken in the plane built by the student and the classes given by certified volunteers. However there are some additional cast that are unavoidable such as the medical qualification check, ect .And if the students wish to expand their knowledge they could always choose to do so at their own costs.
PPL license Requirements
- Minimum 45 hours of flight
- Minimum 10 hours of solo flight
- 5 hours flying over land ( 1 flight at-least of 270 km at 2 different airports )
- Minimum 35 hours of duo flight
Build-up of the course (my ideas)
- Students get familiar with air planes threw an introduction
- Students progress by building a scale model that can fly
- Students start with the theory for the ppl ( this should take 6-10 week depending on the amount of studying)
- Students meanwhile work together to build a model engine to get a greater understanding of the mechanics
- All students that pass a course given test of the theory can proceed and will together build the final plane
- Building the shell
- Instalment of the hardware
- Instalment of the engine
- Flying classes meantime possible on a simulator
The qualifications (my ideas)
The idea now is that havo/vwo students can partake in the course but I have a strong believe that dedicated student from vmbo could also be a great asset in the building of the plane. As vmbo students of the lower 2 levels have more experiences with mechanics and often more knowledge. They could help with only building the plane and take a test if they would want to fly.
Further more the student from havo/vwo must have the right profile, grades (for specific subjects) and motivation is key.
The financial side (my ideas)
The plane could be bought by the school or outside funding/sponsoring. Provided that the plane belongs to the school/course it allows for a big cut in the price for the ppl license. Furthermore selling the plane to the flight school or a private buyer can cover the remaining cost of the ppl license.