Alnwick air cadets reach for the stars in rocket-launching challenge

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RAF air cadets were flying high after enjoying success in a rocket launching competition.

Members of 1801 (Alnwick) Squadron travelled to Elvington Airfield in York to compete in the north of England heat for the UK Youth Rocketry Challenge.

The young engineers were tasked with designing, building and launching a model rocket with a fragile payload.

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This year the challenge was set to reach an altitude of 820ft with a flight duration of 43-46 seconds.

1801 (Alnwick) Squadron RAF Air Cadets.1801 (Alnwick) Squadron RAF Air Cadets.
1801 (Alnwick) Squadron RAF Air Cadets.

Team 1801 have been working hard on the challenge since October last year and over the next six months built six prototype rockets and completed more than 20 test launches, changing and adjusting their designs to settle on their final competition rocket.

The Alnwick team had two successful launches with the first reaching a height of 897ft in 37 seconds, totalling a score of 97, which put the team into second place.

The second launch reached a height of 727ft in 44 seconds and would have gained the team 93 points. However the flight was disqualified due to the egg payload gaining a crack . The team didn’t finish the day in first place so will now have to wait to see if the score of 97 will get them into the national finals in June.

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Lead instructor, Warrant Officer Dan Rogerson-Parkin, said: “These cadets should be immensely proud of their achievements, to come away with such a fantastic score on our first attempt.

“The cadets have learnt so much and had a great experience on the build up to the competition. We have been the first Air Cadet Squadron in the north of England to enter the competition and I would highly recommend it to other squadrons across the region.”

Their participation was made possible by grant funding from the Plattern Family Fund administered by Tyne and Wear Community Foundation and sponsorship from 3S Northumbria Ltd, a space company based in Alnwick.

Thanks were also expressed to the Station Commander at RAF Station Boulmer who permitted regular test flights from the base.

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1801 (Alnwick) Squadron are always looking for new cadets to take part in activities including flying, gliding, shooting and adventure training, and also welcome volunteers to support these activities. They meet in the TA centre on Lisburn Terrace.

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