Thursday 25th June 2009 by C. Freeman
Brooke Weston students have been victorious in a gliding competition, making models that soared to the rooftop of Duxford's Airspace exhibition hall. The team constructed more than 40 model planes in preparation for the national competition, with the help of DT teacher Mr Browne, Mr Wilkinson and mentor Chris Harle.
The team won the Senior Category of the competition when they had to fly hand-held gliders made of a polystyrene-type material, balsa wood models, darts and helicopters. They were allocated just half an hour to test fly each plane 20 times and calculate their flight time. The helicopters flew for 17 seconds each due to the humid conditions in the hangar and the darts were so well engineered that the group was asked for their secret by the Royal Navy team!
All the 25 school teams had to make darts from kit form, so precision modelling definitely paid off for Brooke Weston, with team newcomer Dasha Palamarchuck showing a real talent for model construction.
Mr Browne said: 'To make a really effective dart you have to get the angles exactly right and be really precise. We made four that were really the business. We were in the biggest hangar with a height at least three times that of the school hall and our darts were climbing right to the top, flying for up to 40 seconds and gliding down again.'
As well as Dasha from Year 7, the team comprised Year 8s Daniel Tough and Christian Freer along with Bhargav Garikipati, Curtis Martin, Michael Thow and Josh Loy from Year 9. They were presented with individual medals and a team commemorative plate for winning the Senior class. As Brooke Weston's was one of the few groups to wear school uniform, Daniel and Michael were also chosen to appear in publicity shots for the Royal Navy, the sponsors of the event.
Dasha, the only girl in the team said: 'It's a really fun club and I want to get some of my friends to come along.' Daniel added: 'The most difficult bit was making the balsa wood gliders and getting the darts right and we were all really pleased when we won.'
Mr Browne said: 'The students put a lot of hard work into the project and now others have expressed an interest in coming along because of our success. Glider club meets on Thursdays after school until 6pm. As well as the students I must also thank Mike Wilkinson and Chris Harle for their long-term input, as well as Peter Jackson who transported us and helped out during the event.'