A team from Kingdown School in Warminster has successfully defended the Raytheon STEM Quadcopter Challenge national title it won last year.

The five-strong team beat more than 60 pupils from schools across the UK to retain the title at RAF Cosford Museum near Telford in Shropshire.

The school first won the title last year and has successfully defended it with another team of Year 9 pupils.

This year, the winning team comprised James Lamont, Silas Hamilton, Reuben England, Ned Bell and Lucas Crabbe, supported by teachers David Leater and Andy Bray.

They won the title for the second time against finalists from seven other regions after a gruelling six hours of public speaking and flying challenges

Mr Leater said: “It’s great to have the pupils involved in such a wonderful competition. It has really opened their eyes to what’s out there.

“The Quadcopter Challenge is an excellent way of engaging and developing our next generation of engineers.”

He added: “Silas and the rest of the team stepped up onto the stage in front of the judges and over 200 spectators, to clearly and eloquently, present a detailed history of how the team had come together and designed, developed and built their quadcopter.

“It was very clear how the team had worked together to really push the design boundaries and overcome all the challenges that were constantly thrown at them by the competition.

“James then flew brilliantly throughout the rest of the day, demonstrating a delicate and precise control of his drone, with a steely determination to win each challenge.”

James Lamont, team captain and Drone Pilot, said: “It was great to be part of such a massive and high-pressured competition.

“I have learnt so many new skills, designing, making and of course then flying. The drone was a real handful to start with, but many hours of practising and crashing, eventually bore fruit and we won the day.”

Silas Hamilton, public speaking presenter, added: “Speaking in front of the judging panel and the 200-plus audience was an amazing if somewhat daunting experience! I really enjoyed it and was very happy with my presentation and the team’s overall success.”

More than 600 school pupils from England, Scotland and Wales took part in Raytheon’s 5th STEM Quadcopter Challenge, learning to develop, build and fly unique aerial vehicles.

The grand final on Wednesday, November 13 saw seven school and cadet teams take part in the UK-wide engineering challenge, where students were tasked with designing, building and flying their own quadcopters.

Teams were judged on the accuracy, agility and creativity of their quadcopter designs. Team members also gave a 10-minute presentation to explain the design process and how they managed their project.

During the challenge, more than 200 Raytheon employees volunteered their time as science, technology, engineering and maths, or STEM, ambassadors.

They mentored the teams throughout the competition; visiting schools, hosting workshops and guiding pupils on how to improve the aerodynamics and control of the quadcopters.

Alex Rose-Parfitt, engineering director at Raytheon UK, said: “Inspiring the next generation of engineers, scientists, mathematicians and teachers is a crucial part of the competition.

“We hope that by getting the participants to apply the principles of STEM to compete in the Quadcopter Challenge, we are exposing their minds to a wealth of possibility for education and future careers.”

Air Commodore Mike Wilson, Royal Air Force; Major Tim Kent, Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers; Dr Alex Rose-Parfitt, Engineering Director of Raytheon, and Julie Brierley, Head of Access & Learning at RAF Cosford, judged the presentations.