9 April, 2024

Students cleared for take-off

A Large gathering of people converged at the Caboolture Aerodrome Clubhouse for the unveiling of the St Columban’s College student-built Vans RV plane, during the afternoon of Friday March 22.

By Liam Hauser

St Columban’s College students are keen to check out the aircraft.
St Columban’s College students are keen to check out the aircraft.

The Vans RV 12iS aircraft involved more than 1500 hours of work within three years, featuring 27 students and five staff from St Columban’s College as well as 12 mentors from Flight Youth Engineering.

The extended build time was to ensure students could gain the most from their experience while ensuring the result was a completed aircraft of a very high standard.

The final paint coat was completed by renowned Redcliff e business Bell Helicopters, and paint was supplied by Axalta which has showcased the meticulous work of the students and volunteer mentors from Flight Youth Engineering.

All 44 names were inscribed on the aircraft, with the 27 students being members of the St Columban’s College Aero Club.

The aircraft passed all of its tests and has already had more than 25 hours of flight.

The plane will remain at Redcliffe Aerodrome so that the community can access the aircraft , until it’s sold into a syndicate based out of Redcliffe.

Funds raised from the sale will be placed in a trust for future builds for St Columban’s College Aero Club students.

Speakers at the unveiling of the aircraft included St Columban’s College principal Michael Connolly and staff member Simone Buckingham, who was the driving force behind the initiative.

“This is the culmination of an extraordinary journey, a journey fuelled by passion, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to the future of aviation in this country,” Mr Connolly said.

The school principal recalled about five years ago when Ms Buckingham shared her vision of building an aeroplane, at about the same time Mr Connolly began his role at the school.

Mr Connolly said Ms Buckingham’s vision “sparked a fi re within us and within me as well, an excitement born from recognition of the immense potential for learning and skill development within the fields of STEM”.

Mr Connolly said he embraced Ms Buckingham’s idea, “recognising its significance in addressing the skills shortage within our aviation industry throughout Australia.

“What better way to achieve this than by engaging in practical, hands-on learning,” he said. Living Waters Catholic Parish priest Krupa Bonagiri gave a blessing, before attendees closely inspected the aircraft .

In attendance was Federal Member for Longman, Terry Young, who said he has watched the students build this aircraft over the last couple of years, transforming it “from a mere shell to the spectacular piece of machinery”.

St Columban’s College principal, Mr Connolly.
St Columban's College principal, Mr Connolly.
Simone Buckingham and Michael Connolly.
Simone Buckingham and Michael Connolly.

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