RAF engineer officers race to boost awareness of STEM.
A team of RAF engineer officers entered the Red Bull Soapbox Race to raise awareness of STEM careers. Team Must Dash's cart was based on the Lancaster Bomber. The team, which includes IMechE member James Sinclair and three colleagues, got on the podium thanks to a huge 3,296 votes from the public to win the People's Choice Award. Their vehicle achieved eighth place out of 69 entrants, and was one of only 27 carts that completed the course (relatively) intact.
Sinclair and his teammates are stationed at Head Quarters Air Command in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. He said: "As a kid, my parents helped me make a wooden soapbox to race in, so I had the 'soapbox bug' from a very early age! Taking part in the Red Bull Soapbox Race, with its big jumps and tight hay-bale chicanes, was a massive step-up, though!
"Most of the team work in staff jobs dealing with airworthiness policy and assurance, so this project provided us with an excellent opportunity to get out of the office and get our hands dirty. We faced numerous engineering problems and, although frustrating in parts, the team really enjoyed trying to find solutions. Coming in the top 10 was better than we were expecting, especially as it was our first time building and racing a soapbox!
"Our main aims were to complete the course, not embarrass ourselves (or the RAF!), encourage young people to consider STEM careers and promote the RAF Benevolent Fund and the RAF Association."
Team member Dan Ruane said: "It was a chance to promote engineering as a fun and diverse career choice. It also allowed us to raise awareness of some great RAF charities, with a crowd of 20,000 people in attendance on the day and the chance of being on Dave TV forever!"