Archive for April, 2021

Search for UK’s brightest STEM students

Monday, April 19th, 2021

STAAR residential experience

Register online at
Competition commences on 10 May to 28 June online.
Residential places are available for four schools.

The Royal Air Force Museum in partnership with Northrop Grumman in the UK is on the lookout for enthusiastic STEM students to take part in an exciting new competition. Each school team will compete against other school teams in a series of STEM challenges posted online, with the chance to win a two-day residential educational and vocational experience at RAF Cosford later this year.

The new STAAR programme will consist of six STEM challenges that together create the overall Mission. Students will be part of an elite team called upon to monitor earthquakes and volcanoes, provide aid to citizens, assess the damage to national communications, transport and power and help the elected Government of a UK ally to maintain civil control of the country after a series of natural disasters.

To complete their mission the team must design an unmanned aircraft that is low cost, lightweight and capable of being remotely piloted over difficult terrain in the emergency zone. They will also demonstrate how their mission planning skills, decrypting of messages and code, and skills in creating or using a high-tech C4ISR system (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) helps to manage all their data, planning and control of the mission.

Open to all Year 9 students across the UK, the competition is the 2021 edition of the RAF Museum and Northrop Grumman’s successful Summer Time Advanced Aerospace Residency (STAAR) programme. In its fourth year, STAAR has adapted to the limitations of Covid-19 and continues to engage the next generation of young engineers and innovators by bringing classroom STEM studies to life.

The challenges will be released over a number of weeks at and students have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of each challenge to successfully complete their Mission, which will culminate in a final presentation judged by a panel of experts. Each individual challenge is aligned with the national curriculum and can be completed by students together in the classroom, or remotely if they are studying from home.

Teachers can now register a total of up to 20 students, in teams of 5 students each, that the teachers feel have the ambition, aptitude and interest in STEM subjects to take part in the STAAR Challenge. The four schools who most successfully meet the overall mission objectives across each of the six challenges, will win a two-day STAAR residential camp at RAF Cosford in Shropshire, where they will develop their skills further and complete phase two of their mission.

Nick Chaffey, Chief Executive of Northrop Grumman UK, Europe and Middle East said:
“I am extremely proud of our STAAR programme and our new 2021 approach to make it even more accessible to a larger group of young people whilst ensuring that it is still an exciting and competitive opportunity. STAAR aims to bring STEM subjects and their real world applications to life and to provide inspiration and opportunity for students to study and pursue careers in STEM. The aerospace and defence sector drives innovation and ingenuity, and the pace of development and change is ever increasing. The sector needs talented young people and STAAR helps to provide an insight into careers in our industry by understanding the importance of teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, agile approaches and thinking outside the box – those who push the envelope and are willing to try will see how they can make an impossible mission, possible.”

Julie Brierley, Head of Access and Learning at RAF Museum Cosford said:
“We were forced to rethink our usual STAAR format due to Covid, and as a result, we now have the opportunity to engage with more students than ever before with our online curriculum-based STEM challenges, while still offering a residential experience for the four winning teams later this year. The STAAR Competition encourages students to develop their scenario-based problem-solving skills by overcoming each of the mission challenges. They will also experience the excitement of the aerospace industry through a range of activities, including programming drones to swarm. The residential is fully funded and students will get to experience elements at both RAF Cosford and the RAF Museum.”

How to take part in the STAAR Competition:
• 19 April – Applications for the competition open.
• 10 May – Mission commences, visit for the first STEM activity.
• 28 June – All six STEM challenges must be complete, and findings submitted.
• 12 July – Work will be judged and results announced. The four winning schools will be notified.

The residential camp is provisionally planned for the Autumn term, dates will be confirmed with the winning schools once they have been notified. The residential will be for up to 20 students from one class bubble at a time. The winning schools will be judged by a panel of experts from the Royal Air Force and the Aerospace Industry.

The STAAR programme is fully funded (including travel, food and accommodation for the residential phase) by Northrop Grumman and is delivered in partnership with the RAF Museum and Tablet Academy, with the generous support of RAF Cosford and the RAF Youth and STEM Engagement Team.

For more information on the STAAR programme visit

IWM Duxford to reopen this May with new series of themed Flying Day events

Monday, April 19th, 2021


IWM Duxford is thrilled to announce that, from Wednesday 19 May, the museum will fully reopen to the public with all hangars and indoor exhibitions open to visitors. Tickets have also been released today for the first three Flying Days which will be taking place from May through to the autumn. A new addition to the IWM Duxford calendar, Flying Days are themed events guaranteeing fantastic flying displays over the airfield and entertaining activities on the ground.

In line with the latest government guidance, IWM Duxford is delighted to be able to welcome visitors back on site to experience all areas of the museum from Wednesday 19 May. Step into the former Second World War nerve centre of RAF Duxford in the Ops Block: Battle of Britain exhibition, which opened to the public last September, or explore original aircraft and intriguing collection items in the newly Grade II* listed American Air Museum. General admission tickets can be purchased via the website and must be booked in advance.

Having been recently selected by the British Air Display Association (BADA) to receive a trophy for its Showcase events in 2020, the IWM Duxford Air Show team is pleased to announce that tickets for its first events of the flying season are available to purchase from today at The first three of the newly introduced Flying Days will be:

• Standing Together, Saturday 22 May – following Mental Health Awareness week, the first Flying Day of the season will feature ground content focusing on educating and informing people about issues relating to mental health. This will include volunteer talks about the importance of promoting good mental health within the armed forces, both historically and in the present day.
• Celebrating D-Day, Sunday 6 June – vintage ground activities and living history groups will bring the 1940s to life with the chance for visitors to learn more about this remarkable Second World War seaborne invasion. Watch as vintage aircraft, including Spitfires and Thunderbolts, take to the skies over this former RAF base.
• Thank You Dads, Sunday 20 June – fathers and father figures will be celebrated at this themed Flying Day, complete with crazy golf and displays of contemporary, vintage and military aircraft.

Tickets for the remainder of IWM Duxford’s Flying Days will be released in the coming weeks. Please refer to the website for the most up to date information (please note that IWM Members can attend these events free of charge).

IWM Air Show Event Manager, Phil Hood, said “Following 2020’s cancellations we have been working extremely hard behind the scenes to organise an array of events at IWM Duxford which are adaptable to the ever-evolving situation. We are delighted to introduce our new series of Flying Days which will kick off in May and continue right through to the autumn, each one of which has been themed to ensure no two events are the same. We also can’t wait to unveil the plans for our two summer Air Shows which, although they may feel slightly different to the norm, will entail hours of incredible entertainment in the skies.”

IWM Duxford’s two Air Show weekends are scheduled to go ahead with Duxford Summer Air Show taking place from 24-25 July and the Battle of Britain Air Show from 18-19 September. More details and tickets for these events will be released shortly. For the most up to date information on the reopening of IWM branches and details on tickets and flying content for our events please visit the website or sign up for our enews.

For full details of all the health and safety measures in place on site please refer to our website and FAQs.
Prices: Adult £28.50, Child £14.25, Concessions £22.