We all know what the RAF is and what it stands for but, as Year 8 were shown last Tuesday, there is actually much more to it than just flying planes. Our attention was grabbed the minute we entered the hall by the RAF and the drone that lay on the floor in front of us. The presentation was all about how there is more to the RAF than we think and actually, there is a whole variety of jobs in the RAF from being an engineer, who takes care of the equipment, to a chef, preparing meals and making menus. But, also, it aimed to inform us of some of the physics behind flight, cybersecurity and the use of drones and virtual reality in the RAF. Throughout the presentation the audience was very enthusiastic; constantly trying to volunteer and take part.
The lively presentation started off with a dramatic video which showed just a bit of what the RAF is and was followed by some facts that most of us were shocked to discover. These may have been the huge lists of possible jobs in the RAF that people could volunteer and apply for or the massive amount of people working for the RAF, most of whom are not pilots. After this, they then moved onto cyber security which became very entertaining for the audience as it included the use of the drone. But before the drone, they told us about how they can be very useful but also the potential for misuse. We were told about how drones are used to follow things such as cars by having it recognise a car and follow where it goes from high up in the sky as well as using the camera to identify people’s faces easily by using facial recognition. But all of this must come at a cost and this was best shown with the use of a drone.
One of the presenters started flying the drone across the hall whilst using the camera to film us. We all enjoyed this lots as it was wired through to a screen, live, and so we could all see ourselves in the camera. But then, whilst we were all having fun, one of the other presenters used their own controller to start messing around with the camera, making it turn around and do other things that the first person didn't want. In the end, the second presenter had complete control over the drone, which understandably in the real world is very dangerous. But all hope for drones is not lost as in certain places there are golden eagles who are specially trained to remove drones from the sky. The video they showed was of a drone flying in the air and then suddenly an eagle appeared and through the camera you could see the drone fall and this video really revealed how little time the flyer had to react.
But the fun wasn’t over after the drone as the presentation continued on and included much more enjoyment. We got to discover the how sound waves could affect fire. This used a thing called a Ruben’s tube and meant that we had a line of flames that, when music was played through them, changed height. But also they talked about and used virtual reality (VR). They explained how they can use VR to help people practice things such as flying and how it is cheaper than them actually flying. It was lots of fun and very funny for everybody as although only one person got to actually experience it, everybody in the hall got to play along with them. They also taught us about the four forces of flight: lift, weight, thrust and drag; as well as some actions to go along with them.
Our time with them was coming to an end and so in their last demonstration, they decided to go out with a bang. The demonstration used two proper engines which were similar to those used to create a working jetpack. These were extremely loud when fully powered up and had to be placed outside when active because otherwise, they would set off the smoke alarm in a matter of seconds with the amount of exhaust it produced! It was very exciting and interesting although the noise required many of the students to cover their ears because of it. The whole presentation was brilliant, entertaining throughout and it also succeeded in revealing to us the true nature of the RAF.
Many thanks have to be given to the RAF for coming to our school to talk to us and give us a thoroughly enthralling and insightful presentation. Most of us will remember what we learnt and maybe even use it later in life!