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Amazing air show as Countess arrives at base




Aulden Dunipace, left, the Countess of Wessex, centre, and Group Captain Tony Keeling, right, with the winning team from Littlehampton Academy
Aulden Dunipace, left, the Countess of Wessex, centre, and Group Captain Tony Keeling, right, with the winning team from Littlehampton Academy

Stamford was treated to a stunning surprise air display last week as the Countess of Wessex visited RAF Wittering.

Hundreds of schoolchildren designed, built and raced miniature rocket cars at RAF Wittering for the Race for the Line National Finals on Thursday last week.

Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex is RAF Wittering’s Honorary Air Commodore.

She met with the school teams and watched the final races.

Her Royal Highness is also the Ship’s Sponsor for HMS Daring, and the event was strongly supported by the Royal Navy STEM team.

Between races the school teams were treated to a series of air displays, beginning with the Grob Tutor piloted by RAF Wittering’s Flight Lieutenant Andy Sell.

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire
Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire

In a cloudless sky a Spitfire, an RAF Typhoon and the Red Arrows gave the captivated audience a series of breath-taking aerobatic manoeuvres. The aircraft also gave a similarly stunning display over Stamford, even drawing love hearts in the sky with the smoke.

Race for the Line is a schools’ competition run by The Learning Partnership and supported by the Armed Forces; it’s aim is to inspire children to take up Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.

Over 60 teams from schools across the country created micro-dragsters and competed against one another to see whose was the fastest. The winning team was from the Littlehampton Academy in Sussex, their car achieved an actual speed of 66.1 miles per hour.

David Flowers is a teacher of design, technology and science at the school. He said: “It takes a massive amount of thinking and hours of engineering and practice, it’s an inspiring challenge.”

Red Arrows flying over Stamford. Picture by Gary Reed
Red Arrows flying over Stamford. Picture by Gary Reed

Aulden Dunipace, chief executive of The Learning Partnership, said: “Without support from the tri-forces this year, and particularly the RAF, we would not have been able to deliver the competition. 78,000 students in year seven built rocket cars and raced them across their playgrounds, we ran 400 qualifying race events through the forces.

“It’s just a great partnership.”

BWing Commander Craig Watson, the principal engineer at Royal Air Force Wittering, said: “STEM is really core to the RAF, innovation and science have been a huge part of everything we’ve achieved over the last hundred years.

“By making science and engineering accessible, and by inspiring them, children can see brilliant possibilities for their futures.”



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