University a partner in UK's first Newton Flight Academy at Glasgow Science Centre

he FM tries out a Boeing flight simulator at Glasgow Airport

The University of Strathclyde is a partner in the Newton Flight Academy, a permanent classroom used to teach students aviation-related STEM concepts which will be launched at Glasgow Science Centre in Spring 2022.

The partnership between the Glasgow Science Centre, FIRST ScandanaviaBoeing and the University will help to build Scotland’s innovation pipeline and marks the first Academy in the UK.

The programme will inspire the engineers and scientists of tomorrow to develop the ideas and technologies that will shape the future of a greener, more sustainable aerospace industry.  

The state-of-the-art space will be used to deliver immersive, experiential learning programmes that will enable S3 and S4 pupils to engage in real-world challenges by working together with industry professionals.

Flight simulators

The experience will include flying in state-of-the-art flight simulators - one of which  First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was able to try out a Boeing event at Glasgow Airport announcing the new Academy.

The programmes will cover themes including space, biofuels, and advanced materials and manufacturing. These will be delivered in partnership with the University, with links to its engineering programmes and involvement from both staff and students.

Stephen Breslin, chief executive of Glasgow Science Centre, said: “We are bringing the aviation industry, teachers and pupils together through the Newton Flight Academy.

“We will use the excitement that the simulators and aviation-related themes bring to help pupils develop problem solving and innovative thinking skills.

“Aviation is going to change so much as the industry seeks alternative, greener fuels. Scotland needs a pipeline of talented, skilled youngsters who can innovate and help engineer the solution - and the Newton Flight Academy is where they’ll be inspired.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde said: “In our rapidly-changing world, we need engineers and scientists to design, build and operate the sustainable technologies and infrastructure of the future - from faster, more fuel-efficient aircraft to cleaner, greener energy production.

We are delighted to be building on our long-lasting relationships with Boeing and Glasgow Science Centre to spark the imaginations of the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators. By giving young people access to leading-edge technology, we hope to inspire them and introduce them to education opportunities and careers that will help them shape the world around them.”

Stian Elstad, managing director, FIRST Scandinavia, said: “We are thrilled to launch the first Newton Flight Academy in the UK at Glasgow Science Centre. The Newton Flight Academy will be a great asset for hands-on education in the region, and an attraction for visitors at Glasgow Science Centre.

“The team at Glasgow Science Centre with their experience, professionalism and their position as one of the world’s leading science centres, is certainly a solid partner for us going forward.

“The reason we engineered the Newton Concept in the first place was to provide young people with high-quality, hands-on education programmes, and when enhanced with full-motion flight simulators, I think we will see sparkles in the eyes of many of the students and visitors.”

Educational resource

Sir Martin Donnelly, president of Boeing Europe and managing director of Boeing in the UK & Ireland, said: “The Glasgow Science Centre is a world-leading educational resource for Scotland.

“Boeing are delighted to bring our Newton Flight Academy with the three flight simulators to the Glasgow Science Centre to inspire the next generation of aerospace students and help bring about a more sustainable future for both aviation and Scotland.”

Schools or teachers who want to take part in Academy should sign up to Glasgow Science Centre’s education newsletter on the website to stay in touch for further details of the launch of the programme.

Glasgow Science Centre hopes to expand the programme by finding more funding from the aviation industry or other commercial partners.