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Students steer drones to victory in Raytheon UK contest

One of the drones in the Raytheon UK Quadcopter Challenge Finale flies through an obstacle course. The company created the event as part of its commitment to education in science, technology, engineering and math.

Students from Stewards Academy in Harlow, England, have won Raytheon UK's 2015 Quadcopter Challenge Finale, remotely piloting two self-built, high-tech drones to victory.

The team's quadcopters, named APOLLO 13 and MAKAM, dodged mid-air knocks and made it safely through an obstacle course during the contest, held at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome in Essex, England, on 7 November 2015. The APOLLO 13 team included Stewards pupils William Payne, Filip Kusnir, Shiv Sharma and James Clarke. The MAKAM team included Katy Briant, Anita Ogedengbe, Molly Gallaway, Bethan Rumsey.

They will receive the grand prize, a flight in a 1930s-style Tiger Moth biplane at the aerodrome.

Students from three other Essex schools – Burnt Mill Academy, Boswells School and Tabor Academy – also competed.

The APOLLO 13 quadcopter was awarded Raytheon UK's Engineering Quality Award, while Tabor Academy came first in the Creativity Challenge.

Students from the Boswell School pilot a drone through hula hoops at the Raytheon UK Quadcopter Challenge Finale. The event took place 7 November 2015 at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome in Essex, England.

The competition among year nine and 10 students began in January 2015, in association with Essex County Council. By challenging the students to build quadcopters from kits designed by Raytheon UK engineers, the competition reflects the company's commitment to promoting science, technology, engineering and math.

"We want to inspire the next generation to study STEM and encourage students into STEM-related careers with the aim of growing the talent pipeline at a national and regional level," said Raytheon UK Chief Executive Officer Richard Daniel.

The judging panel comprised Roy Donelson, director of Programme Delivery and Mission Assurance, Raytheon UK; Andy Mitchell, lead engineer for the Quadcopter Challenge, a Raytheon UK STEM Ambassador and lead engineer Force Protection for Raytheon UK; Penny Channer, deputy cabinet member for Economic Growth and Infrastructure at Essex County Council, and Rosalind Azouzi of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

The success of this year's challenge has led Raytheon UK to expand the competition nationally in 2016. Essex, Fife, Chestershire and Lincolnshire are already confirmed.

Students from Stewards Academy  took top honors at the Raytheon UK Quadcopter Challenge Finale in Essex, England. The contest, part of the company's efforts to promote science, technology, engineering and math, will expand across the UK in 2016.

Published: 11/13/2015

Last Updated: 04/26/2016

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