Aviation students from Telford College have been getting hands-on experience of the latest innovations in aerospace technology during a fact-finding visit to RAF Cosford.
The students are on a level three BTEC aviation course, which is designed to prepare them for careers such as aeronautical engineers or other roles in the Royal Air Force.
On their latest visit to RAF Cosford, the students were given access to the training hangar where they were able to look inside a cutaway version of a Jet Provost and sit in the cockpit of a GenFly training plane.
Jamie Dawson, one of Telford College’s aviation lecturers, said: “When it comes to learning about aviation, there is absolutely no substitute for seeing the real thing.
“The college has a wonderful relationship with RAF Cosford which means our students can come along here at various points during their studies and get to see multiple components.
“It means we see things like hydraulic systems in operation, which really does bring the content they learn at the college to life.”
He added: “We have four visits planned during this academic year. Last time the students got to learn about aerodynamics in the wind tunnel, and this visit is focusing on landing gear, flying controls and other hydraulics.”
Tarek Farla is thinking of going on to a mechanical apprenticeship as the next step on his journey.
The 18-year-old, originally from South Africa, said: “We count ourselves very lucky that we get to do this sort of thing, because it’s incredible in here. Engineering is my passion, and it is breathtaking to see all of these planes together in the hangar.
“I think it’s really important to be able to come to somewhere like RAF Cosford, because when you are doing the theory portion of the course, you can’t get the same kind of understanding as you do by seeing the planes in person.”
Will Taylor, 22, from Bridgnorth, is moving onto a degree apprenticeship in systems engineering with an aerospace company when his current course in complete,
He said: “It’s pretty incredible to discover how everything works properly, as we get to see inside some of the open engines.
“My whole family is an RAF family, and I’ve always loved fixing things, so it was always going to be aviation for me.
“Last time we came to Cosford they showed us how delta wing works on a typhoon, and that’s something you just can’t find or see on YouTube.”
The Telford College students were also given a tour of the equipment in the hangar by Flight Sergeant Jon Clark, who is with the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering.
“We’ve given the students a quick show-and-tell of what actually goes on in an operational station,” he said.
“Cosford is a training environment, but it still portrays what real life is like working in a hangar – including all the noises involved in aircraft moving parts.
“We’ve been able to show the students a couple of the Tornados we have got here, explored how a jet engine works, and explained how things have developed from a Gloucester Meteor engine all the way through to a Typhoon engine.
“You always learn more by getting hands-on with equipment like this than you can possibly do if you are just sitting in a classroom. You get to see all the processes behind the theory, in operation.”
Robert Lees, Telford College’s director of engineering and aviation, said: “Thanks to the relationship which Telford College has developed with the team at RAF Cosford, our aviation students get incredible access to their facilities, to see first-hand what it’s like to work on real aircraft.
“We have the benefit of fantastic virtual and augmented reality facilities here at Telford College which can simulate many engineering scenarios – but there is no real substitute for seeing the real thing.”