On Monday 21st March 2016, as part of the Falcon Initiative, a RAF Boeing CH-47 Chinook landed on our fields. The Chinook helicopter can travel at top speeds of 160 knots and carries up to 55 troops and/or up to 10 tonnes of freight. It arrived during the school lunch break so that the more than 1,000 students and neighbours had the chance to witness the landing.
Seventy Tonbridge Grammar School (TGS) students taking part in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) project were given a guided tour of the helicopter. This TGS Falcon Team was joined for a first-hand view by students from other local schools, including Hayesbrook, The Judd, Skinners’ Kent Academy, Tunbridge Wells Boys Grammar School, Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar School and the Weald of Kent Grammar.
The Falcon Initiative ia an innovative programme organised by the Royal Aeronautical Society to promote a love of engineering in 13-18 year olds. Their challenge is to build a fully functioning flight simulator, so the chance to learn about the layout of a real cockpit direct from the crew of the twin-engine Chinook was a huge boost. After the tour, the RAF gave a presentation focusing on career opportunities.
The event attracted local interest - see the report in the courier here