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First Flight Of UK School-Built Light Aircraft

April 13, 2013 - Boeing joins the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) to congratulate British students and teachers after the successful first flight of the two-seat light aircraft they constructed. 

Yateley School in Hampshire became the first school to build and fly the plane as part of the Boeing and Royal Aeronautical Society Schools Build a Plane Challenge.  The Challenge aims to motivate young people in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).  It also encourages young people’s awareness of the aerospace sector, demonstrates its economic importance to the UK and offers them a wide array of related career paths. 

“This initiative has been a fantastic learning experience,” said Oliver Vass, 16, a student at Yateley School. “Being involved in the Schools Build a Plane Challenge has not only increased my knowledge of the aviation industry but also has given me valuable team-building skills.  Working alongside aviation experts has broadened my understanding of the changes over time in aviation, while learning different techniques that have helped me during the project and also will benefit me in the future.”

The Schools Build a Plane Challenge was launched in 2008 and is supported by Boeing and managed by the RAeS in association with the Light Aircraft Association (LAA).  The team that built the Yateley aircraft also included students from Court Moor School in Fleet and Kings College in Guildford.

  G-YTLY in the sky with diamonds! CONGRATULATIONS to Yateley School and partners - G-YTLY takes to the skies and completes successful first flight, celebrated by the RAeS, Boeing UK and the LAA at Farnborough, 12 April 2013 and marking a major milestone and UK school first!

“On behalf of Boeing, I congratulate Yateley School, the Royal Aeronautical Society and the team of dedicated volunteers that supported them in this project on their incredible achievement,” said Sir Roger Bone, president of Boeing in the UK.  “The future of the UK aerospace industry depends on encouraging young people to consider rewarding, sustainable careers in this sector.  The Schools Build a Plane Challenge is part of Boeing’s global commitment to the communities in which we work.  It aims to inspire young people to explore the wide variety of aerospace careers available to them, not only with Boeing but also with our extensive supply chain here in the UK.”



The aircraft, G-YTLY a RANS Coyote 2, was built from a kit by the students, supervised by teachers and local volunteers from the RAeS and LAA along with support from Boeing.  The aircraft is currently under test flying conditions and once this is complete G-YTLY will receive a Permit to Fly. “The plane is very well put together,” said John Michie, the project’s experienced test pilot.  “It performs flawlessly.” 

Six schools are at various stages of their aircraft build –from Yateley that has flown its aircraft, through to Ernesford Grange School near Coventry that took delivery of their aircraft kit in September, 2012.  Further schools will be brought into the project in the future and the aim of the Schools Build a Plane Challenge is to sell the completed aircraft to aviation enthusiasts to continue to help fund the purchase of further kits to ensure the sustainability of the project in the long-term. 

“This first flight of G-YTLY is a very significant milestone in this ground-breaking project in which the Royal Aeronautical Society has been proud to be involved,” said Simon Luxmoore, Chief Executive of the RAeS.  “By taking students through the various stages of building and then flying a light aircraft, whilst introducing an educational element to all of those important steps, the project has brought those involved to the exciting world of aviation and aerospace.  We are pleased to be a key partner in this unprecedented initiative and we thank Boeing for their continued support and enthusiasm, which has allowed us to introduce our exciting sector to those engineers and pilots of tomorrow.” 

Caroline Uttley, Head of Science at Yateley School said “We have worked hard on this project for the last four years and it is amazing to see it coming to a successful conclusion.  The students have had so many opportunities to talk to a wide range of people to discuss issues ranging from light aircraft building techniques, careers in STEM and employment opportunities.  They are very proud of their achievements and the project has made a large, positive impact on their lives. 

“At the start of the project, it was hard to imagine building a light aircraft in a school and at times it seemed like an impossible task.  Thank you to Boeing, the RAeS and our volunteers for turning the dream into reality. 

Sir Roger Bone continued: “Boeing is proud to be celebrating 75 years of partnership with the UK in 2013 and this is a great addition to the celebrations.  We look forward to many more ‘Schools Build a Plane Challenge’ flights in the months and years ahead.”
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