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An inspirational trip to the Royal Navy base

On Thursday 10 May, 27 students attended the Navy’s Portsmouth base along with UTC Reading Engineering Teachers, Andy Thacker and David Court.

The visit was well planned and organised by Scott (former employee at 1710 Squadron) and the staff at the Navy unit which specialises in aircraft failure methods, forensic engineering and aircraft recovery. The students were welcomed to the base by the Commanding Officer and then split into groups to investigate four aspects of engineering forensic work. These included; lubrication and wear analysis, vibration and accelerometers, group investigation of an issue with an Apache helicopter and an investigation into the cause of an accident on an RAF Puma, which had crashed in a field.

The visit supplied students with real-life failure scenarios to back up the third assignment of the Unit 25 (Mechanical Behaviour of Metallic Elements), which the students are currently completing. Helicopter gearbox problems, drive shaft failure and crash debris, all added to the relevance of this valuable engineering unit.

Students now have improved facilities at UTC Reading, with the introduction of specialist, hardness and tensile tester, together with engineering ‘lit’ microscope that permits examination of metal samples at over 400 times magnification. This is part of the materials testing facility that the school is currently implementing.

It was an immersive afternoon that captured a sense of the expertise, equipment and experience on the site, which contribute to the worldwide reputation of the squadron.

David Court commented on the trip saying, “I was so inspired, that I started on an Open University, Forensic Engineering unit the following weekend!”

We would like to thank the Royal Navy for the opportunity and look forward to returning next year, with another group, to inspire and fascinate.

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