A TEAM of talented young engineers from a Thornbury school have glided to success against stiff competition in winning a national competition.

Castle School year eight pupils Thomas Payne, Joe Booth, Ollie Pearce and Jacob Davies, all 13, faced more than 20 teams from across the country in the grand final of the Flying Start Challenge, having claimed second place in the regional finals earlier this year.

The challenge calls on pupils to design and construct a glider which would fly against those from other teams. On top of that, each team would be required to design a poster and present their work to judges and complete a selection of other engineering activities.

“It was amazing enough to make the finals,” said team leader Thomas. “We were pretty shocked as we didn’t think we had done enough in the first few rounds of the regionals to make the cut, but the later activities really pulled us through.”

“Preparing for the final was very stressful,” said Jacob, “there is a lot of pressure on you to do well, and because you are against so many teams, you want to show them you are better than them, so your designs need to back that up.”

The national final, held at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton, meant the team had to step up their game to hold their own, with a new glider design “the Squawking Albatross” having improved on their regionals model, flying an impressive 19.78m to claim second place overall.

Combined with a second placed presentation and a first place in one of the activities meant the team, who all hope to go on to careers in technology in the future, had done enough to secure the overall top spot.

When they said we had won, I was speechless,” said Joe.

“We thought we were going to come fourth,” said Ollie. “Then they announced the top three. Third, then second, and then when they announced the winner and we heard Squawking we thought there was no way that happened.”