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Air cadets swap flying for factory floor in bid to build their own plane

By Rachel Martin

Published 25/07/2016

Ross McConnell (19) cuts padding for the Sting S4
Ross McConnell (19) cuts padding for the Sting S4
Kieran Hillen (15, left) drills, helped by Conn Ashby
The Sting S4

When they're not tied up with homework, 60 RAF cadets will spend their weekends building an aircraft.

Project 'Centennial Wings' will see teenagers from the Air Training Corps work together to build a Sting S4 plane at Ulster Aviation Society's Lisburn hangar.

The project - which has been supported by funding from Boeing and the Air League - is still in the early stages, but the pressure is on for the plane to be ready to fly at Farnborough Air Show in 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force.

The completed, two-seater aircraft will be capable of a maximum speed of 177 miles per hour.

The weekend workers are expected to take at least a year to complete the job.

Aaron Coulter one of the project officers, said: "It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the cadets.

"As pilots we go straight to the flying stage, so it's interesting for us all to learn exactly what goes on to keep the aircraft in the air.

"The young people have all been enthused by the project - we have some travelling from as far afield as Omagh to get involved."

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