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The Hovercraft Challenge

Over 55 year 10 girls from Parrs Wood Technology College, Levenshulme High School, Parklands
High School, Brookway High School, Newall Green High School and Sale Grammar School showed
how girls can rise to the top when they designed and built their own hovercraft, at a NATEC organised
event, “Girls in Aerospace”.

The event took place on Wednesday 13th April at Parrs Wood Technology College, in Didsbury, South Manchester.
This enabled the girls, aged 14 and 15 to experience working in a team and to develop practical and problem
solving skills as they were challenged to design, build and test a hovercraft capable of carrying a teenager.
The day culminated in a head-to-head race with prizes presented to the winning team.

The project is one of a number developed by NATEC and its partner universities to bring science, engineering
and technology to life within schools in the North of England  and to inspire the aerospace engineers of the future, developing enthusiasm for technology.

Comments about the day included:

"The day was challenging but at the same time, fun. The girls had the opportunity to work together as a team
and had their eyes opened to the exciting opportunities within engineering, design, science and technology."

Susan Walton – Head of Science - Parrs Wood Technology College

"We were separated into six teams with people from different schools put together; each one had to build
and decorate a fully functional hovercraft, capable of carrying at least 100 kg! Could this be done? Would one
leaf blower, some foam board, some thin plastic and some gaffer tape really be able to carry one of us?
However, every single hovercraft worked, even the teachers! We all had to make our own ‘designer’ t-shirts
with our team logos on them. It was crazy! …During the day, laughter was shared, friends were made,
hovercrafts spun out of control and fun was had by all."

Kirstie, Parrs Wood Technology College

"I think that the Girls in Aerospace day worked well because I enjoyed making, expanding and adapting the
hovercraft. In the end, the whole day’s work seemed worthwhile because our hovercraft worked
(even though our group lost!!!)."

Charlotte, Parrs Wood Technology College

"Our aim is to enliven science and engineering and enthuse the next generation of aerospace engineers,
in this case particularly girls. We want to encourage girls to have confidence in their ability to take on a career
in engineering and this event is designed to help them get that confidence."

Dr. David Stanley, NATEC Training & Skills Manager