Naval air squadron visit 
shows schoolchildren an exciting side of science

Families welcome HMS Diamond home. Picture: Joe Cater/RN

HMS Diamond welcomed home in Portsmouth after deployment cut short

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SCIENCE and engineering may not always seem like the most exciting of subjects from inside a classroom.

But members of a naval air squadron in Portsmouth have shown youngsters just how exciting such a job can be.

Meon Junior School visited the 1710 Naval Air Squadron at Portsmouth Naval Base for a  day learning about what they do.'' AET Danny Edwards with Millie Church, 10, in the cockpit of the Sea King ''Picture: Sarah Standing (151085-4115)

Meon Junior School visited the 1710 Naval Air Squadron at Portsmouth Naval Base for a day learning about what they do.'' AET Danny Edwards with Millie Church, 10, in the cockpit of the Sea King ''Picture: Sarah Standing (151085-4115)

Children from Meon Junior School in Milton visited 1710 Naval Air Squadron at Portsmouth Naval Base yesterday for a hands-on look at what they do.

It comes as part of a bid by 1710 NAS to promote science, engineering and technology (Stem) subjects in schools.

As a centre of excellence, the team at 1710 draw on these skills all the time and are passionate about enthusing young people to follow in their footsteps.

Lieutenant Andy Vance, 34, from Gosport, said: ‘They have been very keen and have probably grown up like me, with this idea that scientists and engineers are mad, funny guys with a white coat and crazy hair mixing potions all day but now they’ve come here and seen first-hand what we provide and they love it.

Chief Petty Officer Gus Cowley with Jake Brown,(11)''''Picture: Sarah Standing (151085-4054)

Chief Petty Officer Gus Cowley with Jake Brown,(11)''''Picture: Sarah Standing (151085-4054)

‘It’s good for us to give back using Stem activities but it also allows them to see what we do and for us to get that sort of interaction with the local community.

‘We’re very proud of our Portsmouth heritage and we want to show them what we do and add to that interaction.’

The group of 12 schoolchildren got the chance to try some of the training facilities that air engineering technicians use in their learning.

Part of that involved working in the squadron’s laboratory.

Luisa Marthinsen, 11, left, and Sara Jaafar, 11''''Picture: Sarah Standing (151085-4069)

Luisa Marthinsen, 11, left, and Sara Jaafar, 11''''Picture: Sarah Standing (151085-4069)

The children were put at the controls of a model helicopter with its blades spinning and given the task of using complex controls to reduce the vibrations on the aircraft.

In the real world, such vibrations can destroy the helicopter or injure the people inside and the pupils had to use their knowledge of engineering to correct the faults.

Finlay Haynes, 11, said: ‘It has been a really fun day because we got to learn how to do real things in the lab.

‘The best thing was getting to control the helicopter and make it work.’

Finlay Haynes, 11, trying to lift a Chinook rotor head ''''Picture: Sarah Standing (151085-4074)

Finlay Haynes, 11, trying to lift a Chinook rotor head ''''Picture: Sarah Standing (151085-4074)

Classmate Jake Brown, 11, added: ‘I really enjoyed it because we got to see things that people wouldn’t normally be able to see.’

And Jacob Mahmud, 11, said: ‘It was great because we got to see how the experts do it and learn a bit more than most people would.’

The naval air squadron is looking to work with other schools in the area to boost interest in Stem subjects.