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Aeromodelling has never been a mainstream school subject and for good reason. It's too niche. Traditional methods of construction are relatively expensive and time consuming so that school modelling clubs have tended to be staffed by enthusiasts and attended in very small numbers. Talk about model planes and one is prompted to think of a fiddly sticks of wood and tissue paper or of the most recent foam ready-to-fly products that you get for Christmas. Internet based sales of model planes are largely marketed towards the impulse buy - the fad where the participant may subsequently purchase a new wing as an accessory (following the inevitable crash) and move onto something else. Some enthusiast websites offer a range of well considered products but it is rare to find a resource that supports teachers in developing aeromodelling. There are a number of glider kits available and those with propellers and some of these are great fun but do they actually teach the principles of flight? But what resources are available for radio control in schools? Drones seem to be stealing the limelight at present and their technological value is very different to that of 'fixed wing' aircraft. Aer0nauts seek to make fixed wing aeromodelling more accessible through the use of modern materials processes available to schools and with activities designed to clearly explain flight rather than confuse it. One example is of the Bernouilli principle - where younsters are taught that the curved upper surface of a wing creates low pressure that in turn sucks the wing upwards. So why then do they get given gliders made with flat surfaces to fly? And how is it that a plane with biconvex wing surfaces can fly at all? Its not joined-up educational thinking. How do deltas fly? We need to provide a progression of concepts that is logical and not overly complicated, that takes in the complexity as and when. This is the pedagogy needed that many other complex subjects have already enjoyed.
By making good use of modern technologies, materials and resources Aeromodelling can now be accessible incrementally in the classroom, gymnasium and certainly the sports field. Certainly the youth club. Motors can be made relatively safe from fingers, flight stable, and even relatively crash resistant. Electrics standardised and self explanitory. Moreover planes can be rapidly designed, made and customised to unique designs and repaired quickly when things go wrong. Admittedly Aeromodelling is unlikely to replace traditional contexts but hopefully, our readers, if they have any inclination to develop in this idiom will find encouragement and support to reap the benefits: which is healthy, resilient, innovative and motivated younsters.